Tech & Rights

Man Convicted for Inciting Violence Against Saint Nicholas

A man from Utrecht, the Netherlands, has been convicted for inciting violence against Saint Nicolas on social media.

by Nederlands Juristen Comité voor de Mensenrechten

Santa Claus threatened

A 37-year-old man from Utrecht, the Netherlands, was fined 300 euros on August 31 for inciting violence against Saint Nicolas (Sinterklaas) on his social media accounts. The Public Prosecution Service (OM) had demanded 120 hours of community service. The trial took place at the district court in Utrecht.

The message that was posted on Facebook and Twitter included the following: "There is no other option... we have to put a price on Saint Nicholas' head. Double it, if it happens during the national parade, so that all children can be witnesses."

Actor files charges, defendant has sentence reduced

The actor that played Saint Nicolas in the parade filed charges, after which the defendant was arrested. The defendant testified to police that the text was meant as a joke and was a response to another message on Facebook.

The judge stated that it was obvious that the text, which the defendant had posted in a Facebook group, would be disseminated further saying "the text incites violence and the defendant is therefore guilty of a criminal offence". The defendant's lawyer had requested that the public prosecutor's case be declared inadmissible due to several formal errors. Although the judge did find that errors of form had been made, this did not lead to inadmissibility, but rather to the sentence being reduced.