Three conspiracy theorists who spread lies about satanic paedophile networks and ritual child murder in the town of Bodegraven have been ordered to pay €215,000 in damages to the local authority.
The rumours led other conspiracists to visit the town cemetery and lay flowers on the graves of children who had died, much to the horror of parents and locals.
In the end, the local authority was forced to use its emergency powers to ban them from the graveyard and bring in permanent security. It then went to court to demand damages to pay for the security and clean up operation.
All three – Wouter R, Joost K en Micha K – are currently in custody but were not in court. K was arrested in Northern Ireland last year and is currently fighting his extradition to the Netherlands to face other charges.
Lawyer Cees van de Sanden told broadcaster NOS that the case is unique in that people have been ordered to pay damages for making wrongful statements online. ‘This will have a preventative effect,’ he said. ‘People sitting in their attic making online comments must realise that they could be presented with the bill.’
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