Dutch Cartoonist Arrested for ‘Insulting People’

AP, May 16, 2008

A Dutch political cartoonist was arrested this week on suspicion of insulting people because of their race or religion through his work, authorities said Friday.

The cartoonist, who works under the pseudonym Gregorius Nekschot, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of violating hate speech laws and held overnight before being released, a spokeswoman for his publisher Uitgeverij Xtra said.

“He was arrested with a great show of force, by around 10 policemen,” the spokeswoman said.

She asked that her name not be used, and declined to give Nekschot’s real name, because the cartoonist and publisher have both received death threats.

Nekschot is known primarily for cartoons mocking Muslims and leftists, though the spokeswoman said he is a satirist who targets “any strong ideology.”

Amsterdam public prosecutor spokeswoman Sanne van Meteren said Nekschot remains a suspect in a criminal investigation.

“We suspect him of insulting people on the basis of their race or belief, and possibly also of inciting hate,” she said.

Each is a crime punishable by up to a year in prison under Dutch hate speech laws—or two years for multiple offenses.

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