Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot becomes a stumbling block

Dutch Cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot, who was arrested last week was released after spending 30 hours in a cell.

This is a very long time to spend in jail and there seems no proper ground for such a long arrest. There is a strong impression that the arrest, made by 10 policemen was primerily intended to intimidate.

This has led to a very strongly adverse reaction by the Dutch public, who overwhelmingly expressed support for him. He has become an icon of the Freedom of Speech, a living version of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh.

Minister of Justice Hirsh Ballin, a Chrisitian Democrat, has gotten a lot of flak in Parliament for the decision to invade Mr. Nekschot's (Dutch) home, search his house and to arrest and to detain him.

Minister Hirsh Ballin admitted that 30 hours was too long and promissed to question the Public prosection ("Openbaar Ministerie" or "OM"). Whatever that means.

It is however obvious that the Justice Minister and the Public prosecutor lost a lot of face in this affair.

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