Dutch News

14 April 2014

In March the Solicitor General advised the Supreme Court of the Netherlands that the paedophile association Martijn needs to be disbanded. This Friday the Supreme Court will give its verdict. Yesterday a letter to the editor from group of writers, professors and lawyers was published in De Volkskrant,  asking the Supreme Court to abandon the plan to ban the association Martijn, since it would endanger the freedom of association and freedom of speech seriously.

Martijn was established in 1982 as an interest group from paedophiles that fights for the acceptance of relations between grown-ups and children. In 2012 the association was already banned by the court in Assen, because according to the judge Martijn was in defiance with public order, but the judgement was reversed on appeal by the court in Leeuwarden.


To the Leeuwarden court problems with public order was no issue if an association pleas for a freer sexual moral  and for a liberalisation of moral law. Also if this relates to contacts with minors. According to the court the Dutch society is flexible enough to handle the debate, even though the existence of the Martijn association can be painful and incites fierce resistance. The Solicitor General does not agree and states that an association that promotes sexual contact between grown-ups and young children should be forbidden.


There is a lot of attention in the media for the upcoming verdict. This has two main reasons: over the last years the public disapproval of paedophiles have been in the news a lot. Lately the chairman of the Martijn Association and a paedophile released from jail ended up with an angry crowd in front of their house demonstrating against their presence. The second reason is that the change of opinion about paedophilia between the seventies and nowadays is quite dramatic.


At the time paedophilia was forbidden, but totally tolerated. In the seventies of the last century paedophilia was forbidden, but totally tolerated. During a court case against a paedophile, a demonstration in favour of the paedophile was held, including children. The judge stated that it was only a man that loves children, ‘and that it is actually forbidden, but should be handled with by politicians’. And in a TV-program a known politician, criminologist and paedophile was interviewed and stated that there is a bit of paedophilia in every human being. To him a child has a need for physical attention from a grown-up and he referred to the ancient Greek that were already proclaiming the benefits of sex with children.


A criminologist who is finishing a dissertation on the development of the juridical control of sex with youngsters, the way the Dutch handle paedophilia has changed dramatically. In the seventies magazines with photos of naked children were sold in newspaper shops, now it is an offence to watch child porn. An ex-minister of Justice who wrote a book about vices in the Netherlands, explains that at the time sex was something nice, also for children. In the 80-ties the same minster had to dismiss a case of clear child abuse by its parents, because the sexual activities were not violent, so the parents were released.


In the early nineties of the last century the situation changed. One of the reasons was the critics of the United States, because they found a lot of child porn produced in the Netherlands. It was a vice squad detective in Amsterdam who found out how cruel some of the child porn was and started to contact politicians. He showed them a movie with rushes from child porn movies starting with normal porn, but ending with the abuse of a child. The politicians were shocked. It took till 1995 until the legislation was made stricter. The vice detective is very happy with the change in legislation but also has doubts about the angry masses demonstrating outside a door of a paedophile. To him it does not have sense to hunt down paedophiles like that.   


To the criminologist the anger against paedophiles unites people. And this worries him. To him paedophilia is not clearly defined anymore. That is also the reaction of a reader of the newspaper De Volkskrant, who reacts in a letter stating that there is a difference between a paedophile and paedo-sexual. The first only thinks about sex with children, the second really brings it into practice. The criminologist: ‘And what about a young man of 24 that has sex with a girl of 15? Is that a paedophilia? A specialist on vices thinks that the hatred against paedophiles is going too far these days. ‘There are extreme cases, but most of the paedophiles are not that unscrupulous.(…) Now there is even no understanding for paedophiles that do not do anything with their paedophilia nature.’


Yesterday a letter signed by different people (writers, professors , lawyers) was published in the Volkskrant asking the Supreme Court to abandon the plan to ban the association Martijn. To them the ban would endanger the freedom of association and freedom of speech seriously. For the rest they argue that the association does not pose a threat for society and they think the chance that the ideas of Martijn will be spread on a large scale is only theoretical. Especially in this age of anti-paedophilia, they consider the chance for that close to zero. Above the letter, the newspaper published a photo of a large crowd gathering for the house of a member of the Board of the Association Martijn. They even entered the garden and stand right in front the window. From total toleration to a full paedophile hunt.


Source: De Volkskrant


Link: Pro-paedophile group to be banned






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