Court refuses to ban Hell's Angels
7 March 2007, AMSTERDAM – The Harlingen chapter of the Hell's Angels has not been banned. The court in Leeuwarden dismissed a request to this end from the public prosecution department (OM).
7 March 2007
AMSTERDAM – The Harlingen chapter of the Hell's Angels has not been banned. The court in Leeuwarden dismissed a request to this end from the public prosecution department (OM).
The OM is appealing the decision. Prosecutors claim that the Hell's Angels is a worldwide criminal organisation that systematically commits crimes, like extortion and drug and weapons trade, in an organised fashion.
Two members of the motorcycle club present in the courtroom said they were extremely pleased with the court's ruling. Secretary of the chapter Dirk van der Zee: "There was a lot of tension of course. We are very happy with this. We are going to all go have a few beers. But it won't be really time for celebration until this case has been ended for all the Angels chapters."
The court said that the OM had not succeeded at showing that the Angels in Harlingen had violated public order to such an extent as to warrant a ban. There was no evidence that the Frisian club was financed with criminal money, refuses to admit black members or that a tattoo artist had been threatened by the chapter president. The court says that it had been demonstrated however that the Hell's Angels clubs have a "criminal character."
The court also said that weapons, soft drugs and a cannabis cultivation plant found on the club premises all showed that the Harlingen chapter is itself involved in crime. But the OM had not prosecuted the members or the organisation on these charges, the court said. The municipality of Harlingen had also continued to grant the club permits for parties.
The freedom of association, a fundamental human right, may be restricted, the court said. "But not further than is necessary in a democratic society."
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]
Subject: Dutch news