Saturday 18 September 2021

Appeal court reverses ban on pro-paedophile lobby group

A Dutch foundation which campaigns for legalised sex between children and adults cannot be banned because it’s existence does not threaten to cause social disruption, the appeal court in Leeuwarden ruled on Tuesday.

Last year, a civil court in Assen banned the paedophile lobby group Stichting Martijn with immediate effect, saying what the foundation does and says about sexual contact between adults and children contravenes the accepted norms and values in Dutch society.

The appeal court said texts and photos on the foundation’s website do not break the law. And while some members have been found guilty of sex crimes, this cannot be connected to their work for the foundation, the panel of judges said.

Dangers

The foundation’s work is a ‘serious contravention’ of certain principles in the Dutch criminal system. The foundation also ‘plays down the dangers of sexual contact with young children’, the court said.

At the same time, society is resilient enough to withstand such ‘undesirable statements and abhorrent behaviour’, the court ruled.

The club was disbanded after last year’s lower court ruling. However, former chairman Martijn Uittenbogaard said the 60 former members would now meet to decide what to do next.

Appeal

The public prosecution department is studying the ruling in detail to see if there are sufficient grounds for an appeal. A spokeswoman said Tuesday’s verdict is ‘disappointing’.

Christian political parties said they are considering revising earlier draft legislation to have paedophile clubs like Martijn banned.

Martijn was founded in 1982. It hit the headlines in 2007 after publishing pictures of crown prince Willem-Alexander’s children on its website. It was ordered to remove them in a court order. Founder and former chairman Ad van de Berg is the most recent of its members to be jailed for child pornography offences.

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