An anti-monarchy campaigner hopes to call the Dutch king and queen to the witness box, having been prosecuted for shouting “f*** the king” at a rally in Amsterdam last year.
Abulkasim Al-Jaberi was arrested at a demonstration against Zwarte Piet for shouting “f*** the king, f*** the queen and f*** the monarchy.”
Al-Jaberi is due to appear in court in Amsterdam on May 27 after refusing to accept an out of court settlement including a €500 fine. The action taken against him has caused anger on Twitter and vandalism to the Royal Palace.
He is being prosecuted for lèse-majesté, a crime which specifically refers to offences against the dignity of the monarch, for which the maximum sentence is five years in prison.
His lawyer, Wilem Jebbink, says that he hopes to call king Willem-Alexander and queen Máxima as witnesses in the prosecution: “We want to ask them if they feel personally insulted or if they support freedom of speech for their subjects.”
Mr Jebbink also called the arrest, which was filmed by local broadcaster AT5, “out of all proportion”.
“He was removed from the stage by police. The police and public prosecution department do not understand freedom of speech or freedom to demonstrate.”
The arrest was ordered by Amsterdam’s mayor Eberhard van der Laan, who is reported by the Volkskrant to have questioned whether the outburst was a crime: “It is a very crass comment, but should it be a criminal offence?”
The decision to prosecute Al-Jaberi has caused anger on Twitter, as the #fuckdekoning hashtag was tweeted thousands of times within a few hours in response to the decision to prosecute Al-Jaberi.
The insult was also spray-painted on the side of the Royal Palace in the early hours of this morning.
Al-Jaberi was arrested at a protest against Zwarte Piet, a character who is the companion of Saint Nicholas and has incited controversy, due to what has been perceived as a racist depiction.
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