Cartoons constitute an indictable offence, Nekschot will not be prosecuted
22 september 2010 - Arrondissementsparket Amsterdam
The Public Prosecution deems that seven cartoons and two texts of cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot constitute an indictable offence, but the Public Prosecution has decided not to prosecute the cartoonist based on discrimination. The reason lays in the fact that the man was in pretrial detention for one night after his arrest, the indictable cartoons and texts are no longer on line, and a considerable period of time has elapsed since the arrest, and the Public Prosecution has not received any new complaints or police reports about the website.
The Public Prosecution informed the cartoonist and his legal counsel personally on Tuesday 21 September 2010. The Public Prosecution deems that the cartoons and the texts constitute an indictable offence, but has decided to drop the charges. The Public Prosecutor has reached this decision based on a number of considerations: the man was in pretrial detention for one night after his arrest, the cartoons and texts which the Public Prosecutor regards as an indictable offence are no longer on line, a considerable period of time has elapsed since the arrest, and the Public Prosecution has not received any new complaints or police reports about the website since 2005.
The police report against Nekschot dates back to April 2005. The investigation was concluded on 29 July 2010. This long period of time is due to a judicial preliminary investigation, amongst other things, in which the examining judge interviewed a number of individuals as requested by the legal counsel, among whom a cartoon expert and an Arabist.
All cartoons which were subject of the investigation were deleted from the Nekschot’s website in May 2008 as requested by the Public Prosecution and were not published again afterwards. The separate texts which the Public Prosecution deems an indictable offence were also deleted from the site.
Whilst considering the cartoons, the question whether the cartoons are within the limits of the freedom of expression and the freedom of artistic expression, were examined thoroughly. The Public Prosecution repeatedly deems that the limits were exceeded as regards seven cartoons and two fragments of text.