Arnhem paedophile councillor jeered

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Convicted paedophile and Arnhem city councillor Martin van Meurs was jeered from the visitors’ gallery during his first council meeting after serving a nine-month jail term for the possession and distribution of child pornography.

Van Meurs was a member of a local interests party which threw him out after his conviction and has now formed a one-man party. He has been active in Arnhem politics for more than 20 years.

Mayor Pauline Krikke had the gallery cleared when visitors started chanting slogans including: “Meurs we’ll beat you to a pulp” “”. After the council meeting Van Meurs left the town hall under police escort.

Several councillors were less than amused when Van Meurs entered the council chamber. The councillors of a small local party walked out of the room in protest and a Labour Party councillor turned his back on Van Meurs.

Local Labour Party leader Martien Louwers said: “As councillor you have to set an example to others and I think he can no longer do his job in a normal way.”

In parliament, the Labour Party wants the government to introduce legislation which would make it impossible for people like Van Meurs to return to politics after being convicted. A spokesperson said: “Of course this does not apply to each and every sin of one’s youth, but a sex crime should be taken much more seriously.”

Van Meurs, who was elected for local interests party Pro Arnhem in 2010, says he wants to stay on as councillor because he needs the money. "I eventually decided to choose that what our own society offers, being a second chance,” he said on Monday night.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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