Row over holocaust deniers' freedoms
Following commotion in the conservative VVD party, its European Parliament candidate Hans van Baalen has said that denying the holocaust should remain a punishable offenceTHE NETHERLANDS - Following commotion in the conservative VVD party, its European Parliament candidate Hans van Baalen has said that denying the holocaust should remain a punishable offence. His statement is a reaction to remarks earlier this week by VVD leader Mark Rutte, who pleaded for maximising the statutory freedom of expression.
In some cases, that would allow unwelcome views about the holocaust to be expressed with impunity.
Van Baalen agrees with his party leader that freedom of expression should be improved, but he is wary of allowing holocaust denials, adding that he is convinced Rutte shares his view.
Both within the conservative VVD party and without, many reacted with disapproval to Rutte's views. In the central city of Utrecht VVD election posters were defaced with swastikas, presumed to be in reaction to the party leader's statements.
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, a Christian Democrat, condemned Rutte's remarks as unacceptable.
Radio Netherlands / Expatica