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Dutchman jailed for insulting king

THE HAGUE (AFP) – A man was on Thursday sentenced to 30 days in prison for insulting the king of the Netherlands on Facebook, prosecutors said, after being convicted of breaking seldom used royal defamation laws.

The 44-year-old Dutchman “intentionally insulted King Willem-Alexander”, accusing him of being a murderer, thief and rapist, the Dutch judiciary said in a statement. The man also doctored images of executions online to include the king’s face in place of those of the actual victims, it said. He was found to have violated the king’s dignity, “specifically relating to the king’s constitutional position and its importance for the national interest”.

Although the court in Overijssel, in the country’s northeast sentenced him to 30 days imprisonment, of which 16 were suspended, the man will not face any further time in prison having already spent 14 days in preventative custody last year.

The Netherland’s progressive D66 party has proposed scrapping the so-called “lese majeste” laws that make it an offence to defame the king, according to Dutch news site Nu.nl. King Willem-Alexander, who according to Nu.nl supports an examination of the laws, has pledged to accept the outcome of any debate on the issue.