AMSTERDAM -- Judges yesterday handed down a rare maximum life sentence with no possibility of parole to the Dutch-born Muslim who confessed to, and expressed no remorse for, shooting, stabbing, and nearly decapitating filmmaker Theo van Gogh.
The murder stunned the country, heightened ethnic tensions, and raised concerns about homegrown Islamic terrorism here and elsewhere in Europe.
Mohammed Bouyeri, 27, had mounted no defense at his two-day trial for the Nov. 2 slaying of van Gogh, whom he accused of insulting Islam, and told the court he would do it again if given the chance.
''The defendant rejects the democratic system in its entirety," said presiding Judge Udo Willem Bentinck, citing Bouyeri's lack of remorse and his boast that he would kill again if set free.
''Society must receive the maximum protection from this defendant," Bentinck said. ''That is why only one punishment is fitting, a lifelong prison sentence."
Van Gogh, a distant relative of the 19th-century painter Vincent van Gogh, was a social critic and columnist who decried the treatment of women in fundamentalist Islamic households in a short film, ''Submission," which offended many Muslims.
Bouyeri seemed unfazed by yesterday's sentence, looking relaxed as he shook his lawyer's hand and strolled out of the courtroom with his guards. He has two weeks to lodge an appeal but has said he hoped to receive the maximum punishment, preferably death, in his quest for martyrdom.
Wearing a black-and-white checkered head scarf, he remained seated when the judges filed into the high-security courtroom yesterday in a show of disdain for the non-Islamic proceedings.
In addition to the van Gogh murder, Bouyeri was convicted of the attempted murder of two bystanders and eight police officers during a subsequent shootout; illegal possession of firearms; and impeding the work of a Parliament member, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, whom he threatened to kill in a letter impaled in van Gogh's chest.
Born and raised in Amsterdam by Moroccan parents, Bouyeri became increasingly radicalized in the last two years and repeatedly had run-ins with police.
He was associated with other young Muslims the intelligence services accuse of plotting terrorist actions, but the court acquitted him of charges of operating as part of a terrorist cell.
Though dozens of others have been acquitted of terrorism charges, their trials have cast light on a growing underclass of Dutch-born Muslims who sympathize with Islamic militants.
The verdict was the first to apply Dutch terrorism laws enacted after the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States. The timing underscored similar concerns in Britain following the bombing of the London transport system, allegedly by British-born Muslims.