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.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Dutch State prosecutes cartoonist

Dutch Cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot makes cartoons that ridicule Islam and political correctness.

Gregorius Nekschot is a pseudonym.

Three years ago civil servant Enver Varisli of the Mercator (in Amsterdam-West) Discrimination Desk (MDI) reported six of Nekschot's cartoons as going against the anti-discrimination laws.

Yesterday his house was invaded by ten police men. They arrested Gregorius Nekschot, confiscated his computer, phone, back-up drive and a usb-stick. Mr. Nekschot was then taken to a high-security prison (Bijlmer bajes) and was released today.

Ominiously the police told Nekschot that his cartoon's were worse than Denmark's and that he would be in trouble for ridiculing Islam and its prophet.

Neksschot replied: "you are loading a very heavy responsibility on your shoulders".

In a interview with Amsterdam newspaper "Parool" Mr. Nekschot added:
that he never tried to flee from the law. My web site contains a direct link to the MDI (anti-discrimination desk). But I have always been very carefull with my identity. I do not use that pseudonym for nothing. What I create is no trifling matter and I know what may be its consequences. Which is why I am very afraid of a conviction. Suppose I go to jail. As the maker of those cartoons I have to fear for my life.