Monday 27 March 2023

Coalition divided over bill to scrap the crime of insulting the king

It is a crime in the Netherlands to insult the king. Photo: RVD

The four coalition parties are divided about plans to scrap a law which makes it an offence to insult the king, the Telegraaf said on Friday.

A majority of MPs back the plan, which was first introduced by the previous government, but the two Christian parties in the coalition are vehemently opposed, the paper said. And the ruling VVD also has its doubts, saying the plan goes too far.

MPs are likely to debate the bill, which is backed by GroenLinks, the Socialist Party and Labour next week.

The Netherlands is one of the few country’s in Europe to have the crime of ‘lèse-majesté’, for which the maximum sentence is five years in jail.

The bill to scrap the law was put on ice after the last general election because it was considered too controversial.

In 2016 an anti-monarchy campaigner faced legal action for insulting the Dutch royal family at a rally in Amsterdam in 2014.

Abulkasim Al-Jaberi was arrested at a demonstration against Zwarte Piet for shouting ‘fuck the king, fuck the queen and fuck the monarchy’. The case was later dropped after officials decided the statement was not a crime because it was made ‘within the public debate’.

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