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Dutch court acquits Arab group over cartoon

Geert Wilders (file)
The Arab European League said Geert Wilders was treated more leniently

A Dutch court has acquitted an Arab cultural group of hate crime for publishing a cartoon on its website questioning the Holocaust.

The Dutch arm of the Arab European League said it had wanted to highlight what it said was double standards.

It published the cartoon last year after a decision by Dutch prosecutors not to put MP Geert Wilders on trial for distributing cartoons of Muhammad.

The court in Utrecht said the group itself was not denying the Holocaust.

It said the league had published the cartoon with a text explaining its purpose.

"Freedom of speech need not come second in this case to the right of others to be free from discrimination," the court statement said.

"The right of the AEL to make such a statement must be guaranteed, given the specific context and intention of the case."

Tension over Muslim immigration into the Netherlands has increased in recent years, notably since the killing of controversial film-maker Theo van Gogh by a Muslim extremist in 2004.



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