A Dutch appeals court has fined an Arab organisation in the Netherlands 2,500 euros for causing unnecessary offence in publishing a Holocaust-denying cartoon.
The Holocaust is a black page in the history of humanity, the appeals
court in Arnhem in the eastern Netherlands said in a statement: The suggestion that it may have been contrived or exaggerated by victims is extraordinarily offensive for the victims and their surviving relatives, in this case the Jews.
Dutch leg of the Arab European League (AEL) re-published the cartoon on its website last year, saying it wanted to point out double standards in society.
In April, a court acquitted the AEL of insulting Jews by publishing the cartoon, which
depicts the Nazi Holocaust as a figment of Jewish imagination.
But appeals judges agreed with prosecutors that the cartoon was more offensive than could be justified by the debate.
The Dutch public prosecutor has appealed against a court ruling acquitting a Muslim group of insulting Jews with a cartoon suggesting they invented the Holocaust, in a case testing the bounds of free speech.
The court ruled last month the cartoon
published by the Arab European League (AEL) showed bad taste and was exceptionally offensive, but it acquitted the group on charges it insulted Jews because of the context in which the cartoon was published.
The court ruled that the
context of its publication removed its criminally offensive nature. The AEL had argued that the cartoon was meant to show how other religious groups were also sensitive about certain images.
In announcing its appeal, the public prosecutor said it
was essential to determine whether the cartoon was unnecessarily offensive, adding it was not certain whether the cartoon was designed as a contribution to the social debate.
A Dutch court has acquitted an Arab group of hate crime for publishing a cartoon on its website questioning the Holocaust.
The Dutch arm of the Arab European League said it had wanted to highlight what it said was double standards.
published the cartoon last year after a decision by Dutch prosecutors not to put MP Geert Wilders on trial for distributing cartoons of Muhammad.
The court in Utrecht said the group itself was not denying the Holocaust. It said the league had
published the cartoon with a text explaining its purpose: Freedom of speech need not come second in this case to the right of others to be free from discrimination . The right of the AEL to make such a statement must be guaranteed, given the
specific context and intention of the case.
An Arab organisation is to be put on trial in the Netherlands over its publication of a cartoon deemed offensive to Jews, prosecutors say.
The cartoon, published by the Arab European League (AEL) on its website, questions the Holocaust.
It said the decision to prosecute illustrated bias against Muslims.
It said the same standards were not applied to the Dutch MP Geert Wilders, who made a film including cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. However, he is still being investigated separately for inciting hatred against Muslims by making statements
comparing Islam to Nazism.
But Dutch prosecutors said the AEL cartoon was discriminatory and offensive to Jews as a group... because it offends Jews on the basis of their race and/or religion.
The cartoon shows two men
standing near a pile of bones at Auswitch (sic). One says I don't think they're Jews. The other replies: We have to get to the six million somehow.
A spokeswoman for the prosecuting authority said the group could be fined up
to 4,700 euros (£4,100), though in theory a prison sentence was also possible.
AEL chairman Abdoulmouthalib Bouzerda said the charges proved what Muslims have been saying for decades. Freedom of expression is only a pretext to make life
bitter for Muslims... and if [they] try to bring this hypocrisy to light, that right is denied them.
The AEL says it does not deny the facts of the Holocaust but posted the cartoon as an act of civil disobedience. It said it had agreed
to remove it from its site, but reversed that decision to protest over the failure to prosecute Geert Wilders.