Dutch court outlaws pedophile association Martijn, says it breaches values
June 28, 2012
A Dutch court outlawed a pedophile association Wednesday, saying its promotion of sexual contact between adults and children breaches the country's generally accepted moral values.
The civil court in Assen ordered the association, called Martijn, to immediately be dissolved.
The court said in a statement that Martijn is a threat to public order because it "glorifies sexual contact (between adults and children) and presents it as something that should be normal and acceptable."
Its chairman, Marthijn Uittenbogaard, called the decision "an attack on the freedom of expression."
"We are not happy and we are considering whether to appeal," he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
The organization says on its website it was established in 1982 in the traditionally tolerant Netherlands as a "platform for discussion of pedophilia." It was largely ignored for years, but has been under attack more recently from lawmakers and prosecutors who wanted it banned. Such groups are almost unknown elsewhere in Europe, despite many countries' history of safeguarding freedom of expression.
Martijn's former chairman, Ad van den Berg, was convicted last year of child pornography possession and sentenced to three years in prison. Van den Berg claimed the images and films were for scientific research.
The group said in a statement last month that the court should not honour the public prosecutor's request for a ban, saying it had never committed a crime.
"It is naive to think that banning Martijn will make pedophiles disappear," the group, which claimed to have 60 Dutch members, said.
Prosecutors who sought the ban said they were satisfied with the court's decision, adding that it helps the Netherlands meet its international commitments to protect children from sexual predators.
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