Dutchman jailed for the post on Facebook

Dutchman jailed for the post on FacebookA Dutchman has been sentenced to 30 days in jail under a rarely enforced 19th century law for insulting King Willem-Alexander, according to a court ruling published today.

The 44-year-old man had posted a message on his Facebook page in April 2015 calling the king a murderer, rapist, oppressor and thief. A court in the Netherlands considered that the royal was "intentionally insulted."

Sentencing the man, judge Sylvia Taalman said: "Hereby the defendant damaged the dignity of the King.”

The man also doctored images of executions online to include the king's face in place of those of the actual victims, it said. His posting attracted the attention of authorities because it came shortly before a royal visit to the neighboring city of Zwolle.

He was found to have violated the king's dignity, "specifically relating to the king's constitutional position and its importance for the national interest".

Although the court in Overijssel sentenced him to 30 days imprisonment, of which 16 were suspended, the man will not face any further time in prison having already spent 14 days in preventative custody last year.

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. Many Dutch consider the law "Insulting the Majesty" to be an antiquated relic that should be scrapped, but it has never featured high on the country's political agenda. The crime carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of 20,000 euros.
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