MPs want answers on cartoonist arrest

Justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin has asked the public prosecution department to explain why cartoonist Gregorious Nekschot was held at a police station for 30 hours after his arrest on charges of inciting racial hatred.

The minister told MPs he wanted more information during an emergency debate on the arrest on Tuesday night. The debate was postponed pending Hirsch Ballin’s report.
Nekschot was arrested on Tuesday and held overnight in the cell after using his right to silence. MPs from all sides have criticised the arrest for being out of proportion to the alleged crime. Eight cartoons have been singled out as potentially insulting to Muslims and ‘people with dark skins’ or encouraging racial hatred.
Hirsch Ballin denied the arrest was connected to recent efforts to extend blasphemy laws.

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