Dutch far-right MP fined for posting image with Nazi flag on Twitter

Dutch far-right MP fined for posting image with Nazi flag on Twitter
Опубликовано: Thursday, 06 April 2023 16:11

The picture was ‘unnecessarily offensive,’ the Dutch public prosecutor said.

A Dutch far-right lawmaker has been fined for publishing an edited photo of two government ministers next to a Nazi flag, the Netherlands’ Public Prosecution Service said in a statement Thursday.

Pepijn van Houwelingen, of the populist Forum for Democracy Party (FVD), will have to pay a €450 fine.

“After studying the file, the Public Prosecution Service concludes that this constitutes an insult from a legal point of view,” the statement read, adding that the picture was “unnecessarily offensive.”

Last September, van Houwelingen posted a picture showing the Dutch health minister, Ernst Kuipers, lifting a flag showcasing UN Sustainable Development Goals, as well as an edited version of the same image in which a Nazi flag had been added.

The social affairs and employment minister, Karien van Gennip, can be seen looking up and smiling at the flag in the background.

Van Houwelingen later deleted the tweet, but the two ministers filed a lawsuit, with the health minister saying “a line [had] clearly been crossed.”

The Dutch MP then sought to justify himself in an op-ed published on his party’s website, in which he said the reactions to his tweet were “a bit exaggerated.”

“Other FVD members are also constantly associated with Nazism,” he wrote. “But if we do it once — no matter how light-hearted and teasing — the world is too small. What double standards. What hypocrisy!”

The two ministers are part of Mark Rutte’s center-right coalition government — Kuipers is from Rutte’s People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), while van Gennip is a Christian Democrat.

The far-right FVD, whose leader Thierry Baudet is openly Euroskeptic and a proponent of Dutch-first policies, is currently a minor opposition party, holding five seats out of 150 in the lower house of parliament, and one of the Senate’s 75 seats.

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