Man escapes jail for threatening MP Wilders
3 December 2004, AMSTERDAM — An appeals court in The Hague decided Friday against jailing a 30-year-old man who threatened to kill anti-Islamic Dutch MP Geert Wilders.
3 December 2004
AMSTERDAM — An appeals court in The Hague decided Friday against jailing a 30-year-old man who threatened to kill anti-Islamic Dutch MP Geert Wilders.
The public prosecutor (OM) demanded last month that defendant Farid A., of Schiedam near Rotterdam, be jailed for the crime. But the appeals court rejected the OM's application.
The court instead affirmed a lower court's sentence of a 120-hour community service order and a two-month suspended jail term.
Taking part in an internet discussion forum earlier this year, A. had written: "Wilders must be punished with death for his fascistic comments about Islam, Muslims and the Palestinian cause".
He also added a photo of the Independent MP who is a focal critic of Islam and Muslims in the Netherlands.
The head of security at the Dutch Parliament, or Tweede Kamer, reported the threat to police and Farid A. was arrested.
The court heard that the defendant had been incensed by the MP's description of the late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat as a "terrorist leader", NOS Nieuws said.
The public prosecutor had argued before the appeals court in The Hague that everyone had to be allowed to express his or her opinion without being threatened.
Calling for a heavier sanction, the advocate-general, who was representing the prosecution, said the sentence should send a signal to anyone who tried to gag politicians by threats.
He said Wilders had feared for his life after A. posted the threat on the internet forum.
"In the last few weeks we have seen how the rule of law can be disturbed by people who make these sorts of threats," he said.
The appeal court based its decision on the fact A. had never committed a similar offence before and he apologised to Wilders.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news