Arnoud van Doorn, the leader of the Hague Party of Unity, is due to appear in court in The Hague on Tuesday. The Public Prosecution Service suspect the 55-year-old councilor of inciting violence for sending anti-Semitic tweets a few years ago. His lawyer Anis Boumanjal says he is surprised by the prosecution of his client and invokes the right to freedom of expression.
The reason for Van Doorn’s case are three tweets that the Public Prosecution Service classifies as calls for violence. In May 2018, the councilor who converted to Islam sent one of them: “Dozens of young people killed again today in Palestine by bullets from the Zionist occupying forces. It gets crowded in paradise. May Allah destroy the Zionists”, featuring two emojis of a clenched fist and fire. The other two tweets from May 2018 and January 2019 are in English and also deal with the destruction of Zionists and the destruction of the ‘enemies of Islam’.
Lawyer Boumanjal: ,,I am genuinely surprised that the Public Prosecution Service still opts for prosecution after such a long time. I’m not so quick to use the term political process, but I really don’t see the importance of prosecuting my client for tweets from several years ago that didn’t cause a stir. Leaving aside the fact that I think that Van Doorn’s tweets have not been punishable. Freedom of expression goes a long way.”
Boumanjal thinks that calling for violence in particular is going too far. “I see it as an exaggerated response from the Public Prosecution Service. The final word is with the judge and they will have to pass judgment on it.”
Van Doorn converted to Islam in 2013 and then joined the Party of Unity. Until the end of 2011 he was part of the PVV faction. In 2015, he was sentenced on appeal to 240 hours of community service and a three-month suspended prison sentence for, among other things, leaking classified documents, selling hemp to minors and possessing an alarm pistol in the house.
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