Europe

Dutchman jailed for 30 days for 'insulting' the king

  • 14 July 2016
  • From the section Europe
Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima visit Northwest Friesland Image copyright EPA
Image caption King Willem-Alexander says he will accept changes to the royal defamation law

A court in the Netherlands has sentenced a man to 30 days in jail for insulting the king on Facebook.

The 44-year-old Dutchman "intentionally insulted" King Willem-Alexander, accusing him of being a murderer, thief and rapist, the Dutch judiciary said.

He was convicted of breaking seldom-used royal defamation laws.

A Dutch political party has proposed scrapping the laws and the king has pledged to accept the outcome of any debate on the issue.

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The court in Overijssel suspended 16 days of the sentence and the man will not spend any more time in jail, having already spent 14 days in preventative custody last year.

He was found to have doctored images of executions online to include the king's face in place of those of the actual victims, the judiciary said.

"This behaviour is unacceptable in our society and demands that a penalty be imposed on the suspect," it said in a statement.

The Dutch D66 political party is campaigning to abolish the lese majeste law, which was last used in 2014 after an activist shouted obscene slogans about the royal family during a protest.

Prosecutors initially charged the protester but reversed the decision after the move was condemned as an attack on freedom of speech.

The Netherlands' lese majeste law dates from 1881 and carries sentences of up to five years jail or a fine of 20,000 euros ($22,200; £16,700).

In total 18 prosecutions were brought under the law between 2000 and 2012, half of which resulted in convictions, Dutch TV reported.

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