The Netherlands: Dutch lawyers have been quick to capitalise on the death of politician Pim Fortuyn. Fortuyn's own lawyers, G. Spong and O. Hammerstein have brought charges against several politicians, journalists and web sites using a law
Fortuyn himself opposed strongly. Clause 137d of Dutch criminal law concerns discrimination and hate speech:
Hij die in het openbaar, mondeling of bij geschrift of afbeelding, aanzet tot haat tegen of discriminatie van mensen of gewelddadig optreden tegen persoon of goed van mensen wegens hun ras, hun godsdienst of levensovertuiging, hun geslacht of hun hetero- of homosexuele gerichtheid, wordt gestraft met een gevangenisstraf van ten hoogste een jaar of een geldboete van de derde categorie.
Which means (my translation):
He who in public, verbally or in writing or pictures, incites hate against or discrimination against (lit. 'of') people or violent acts against people or people's property because of their race, their religion or beliefs, their sex or their hetero- or homosexual orientation, will be punished with a prison sentence of up to one year, or a third category fine.
Spong and Hammerstein argue that comparing Fortuyn to Hitler, Mussolini or Haider, or his anti-Islamic statements with anti-semitism, fall foul of this law. Their "aangifte" (lit. 'declaration') includes the offending statements. For example Matty Verkamman, in the Trouw newspaper on December 22nd described Fortuyn as
een man met de intelligentie van Hitler en de charme van Heinrich Himmler (
a man with the intelligence of Hitler and the charm of Heinrich Himmler)! The Anarchronicon web site is cited as having contained a picture of Fortuyn in Nazi uniform and photos of posters showing Fortuyn with Hitler's cap and moustache.
The lawyers claim they are acting in accordance with Fortuyn's wishes, even though he felt he should be free to describe Islam as backwards, and that Muslims should equally be allowed to malign homosexuality. A court in Rotterdam has already thrown out the charges, but the they've have appealed to a higher court in Den Haag. Meanwhile, the Nederlandse Vereniging van Journalisten (Dutch Union of Journalists) plans a counter-suit.
lawyer games—Wisse Words, 5th June 2002; NVJ opent tegenaanval over strafklacht—Het Parool, 14th May 2002.