No ban on Amsterdam Hells Angels, says court (UPDATE)

A court in Amsterdam ruled on Wednesday afternoon that the Amsterdam chapter of the Hells Angels motorcycle club should not be banned because the public prosecution department had failed to prove the entire organisation is involved in crime.

The ruling is the second blow to the prosecution department’s efforts to have the organisation banned nationwide because of its involvement in drugs, violence and gun running. A court in Leeuwarden has already refused to ban the group.
In today’s ruling, the court said that while some members of the gang had been involved in crime, ‘curbing the right to freedom of association is only possible in very rare cases’. There had to be a ‘structural attack’ on the rule of law and society to merit such a ban, the judges said.
The public prosecution department is to appeal both the Amsterdam and the Leeuwarden judgements.
Meanwhile, the prosecution department announced that it will not prosecute Willem van Boxtel -known as Big Willem – who was suspected of planning to blow up crime boss suspect Willem Holleeder with a bomb. Big Willem was formerly ‘president’ of the Amsterdam Hells Angels.
The department is, however, preparing another criminal case against a number of Hells Angels, scheduled to come to court in October.

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