The Dutch Public Prosecution Service [official website, in Dutch] announced Tuesday that the public prosecutor for the Utrecht District Court filed an appeal [press release, in Dutch] against the April 22 ruling [JURIST report] acquitting the Arab European League (AEL) of hate speech charges stemming from posting an inflammatory cartoon on their website. The court ruled that publishing the cartoon, which insinuated that the Holocaust was fabricated, was not a criminal offense because it was intended to be a contribution to public debate regarding a perceived double standard in the distribution of Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed [JURIST news archive]. The prosecutor is appealing in order to determine if the cartoon was "unnecessarily offensive," stating that the court failed to rule on this issue. Although the court ruled that a disclaimer posted below the cartoon was sufficient to ensure that the cartoon was posted for the purpose of debate, the prosecutor pointed out that this disclaimer is not always visible in postings on other websites. The prosecutor also found fault with the court's agreement that the cartoon pointed out a double standard, saying that the controversy surrounding the Danish cartoon depicting Mohammed does not equate with the publishing of the AEL's cartoon. The group depicted in the Mohammed cartoon was a "criminal group," the prosecutor said, but the Jewish people "still have no share in the above social debate."
The Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed were originally published in a Danish newspaper in 2005, leading to worldwide protests and lawsuits for those who reprinted the cartoons, including suits in Yemen, France, and Jordan [JURIST reports]. The Danish government did not press criminal charges [JURIST report] against the Danish newspaper that originally printed the articles. Last month, US citizen David Headley pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to 12 counts of federal terrorism, including charges related to an alleged plot against the Danish creator and publishers of the controversial cartoons.