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Bankrupt man jailed for insulting queen Beatrix

Thursday 19 July 2012

A 47-year-old man has been given 80 hours community service and a 90 day jail term, 77 days suspended, for insulting queen Beatrix and sending threatening letters to two mayors, urging them to cancel Queen's Day celebrations.

The man, a bankrupt bargee, wrote to the queen in March and April, accusing her of being a 'con woman' and a 'sinner' and calling for the monarchy to be abolished, news agency ANP reported.

In court, the man said he regretted sending the letters. A psychiatrist said the man, who has a mental handicap, was getting rid of the frustrations surrounding the sale of his barge.

The man has already served the 13 days in jail in pre-trial custody.

Tofik Dibi, an MP for the green party GroenLinks, said in a reaction that the sentence is high for the crime.

'If this had been said to me or any other person, it would not have been a problem,' Dibi is quoted as saying by ANP. 'That is freedom of speech. It might be tasteless but you should be able to say it.'

Where do the boundaries of free speech lie? Have your say using the comment form below.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

The man wrote threatening letters. But I guess it makes a better headline that he is jailed for insulting the queen.

By tim | 19 July 2012 11:29 AM

As tax payers we are instrumental in keeping the "Bad Ship Beatrix" afloat and we should at least have every right to voice whatever opinion we like. Her massive wealth could have helped this poor guy out and many like him. Our taxes should be aimed at more relevant needs.While I don't agree with treats, this poor guy has every right to voice the frustration of his situation without penalty,even if it seems misdirected. Many are losing their jobs daily and Beatrix and her big headed brood should take note before the tides really begin to turn.

By Al | 19 July 2012 11:31 AM

Given the, what, 30 million Euros that Beatrix receives for a salary and operating expenses annually, I think she can take this one on the chin. She's seems like a hardy gal who can handle a little criticism. This punishment is absurd, especially given the fact that this bloke isn't, exactly, having the greatest life in the world.

By B | 19 July 2012 12:26 PM

Here's me thinking this kinda stuff only happened in North Korea.

By ogkush | 19 July 2012 5:23 PM

Shocking that someone is jailed for speaking their mind. I should think that urging mayor's to cancel Queen's Day celebrations and saying that the monarchy should be abolished is not a threat, but a viewpoint. Either this article is journalistically incorrect, or something is very wrong in the Netherlands that free speech is no longer allowed except for Mr. Geert Wilders and the Mrs. Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard? Interesting times we live in...

By Quest | 20 July 2012 12:03 AM

He should not be jailed at all. he is just expressing his views (freedom of speech).

or freedom of speech has its limits too???

By Al | 20 July 2012 12:03 PM

It seems you read the letters, Quest. Otherwise how would you know that there was no threat in them.

By pepe | 20 July 2012 3:53 PM

The monarchy is an offence to the people.

By Comfy Geoff | 22 July 2012 1:52 PM

@Al... of course there are limits to free speech. You can't threaten someone, you can't cause panic that will harm others (yelling fire in a theatre for example), you can't libel somone, can't be overly obscene etc. I don't know the details of this case, but I'd say if there was a threat, 'free speech' isn't applied.

By DH | 23 July 2012 9:41 AM

Interesting that personal views in the NL are also against the law. Not knowing all the details if there were any personal threats against the royal family but I would think 'freedom of speech' otherwise was allowed in the NL.I could be wrong. In school we are always taught that ‘constructive criticism’ is actually a positive thing to improve empathy and performance. Might be different in the NL. Did this guy actually sign his real name and post his address to his letters. Honesty doesn't pay these days under a monarchy.

By stefano | 23 July 2012 5:51 PM

Because the man wouldn't have been punished if he had sent those letters to the "normal" citizen, he shouldn't have been punished for this. No one should be treated better by the law, just because of having a higher position.

By Someone | 23 July 2012 6:59 PM

Exactly stefano, you don't know all the details. So yes, you could be wrong.

By pepe | 24 July 2012 9:36 AM

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