End to ban on insulting friendly head of state quickly moves forward

Ard van der Steur (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons)Ard van der Steur (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons)

The government wants to quickly handle the legislative proposal that will end the ban on insulting foreign heads of state, Minister Ard van der Steur of Security and Justice wrote to the lower house of parliament on Wednesday.

The bill was submitted by D66 MP Kees Verhoeven. Van der Steur wants to work with him to see if the proposal can be given "priority in the preparation of a bill on the side of the government." The Minister added that he would only look at the prohibitions that apply to foreign heads of sate.

According to Van der Steur, recent decades had hardly any cases in which insulting a friendly head of state played a role.

Verhoeven sees Van der Steur's proposal as a step in the right direction, he said to NU.nl. He will finalize his legislative proposal quickly and submit it soon, maybe even later this week.

Insulting a friendly head of state carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison in the Netherlands, according to NU. Over the last century there have been few cases in which a Dutch person was convicted based on this law. In the 1930's three Dutch were prosecuted for insulting Adolf Hitler. And in 1966 an Amsterdam student was sentenced to two weeks in prison for insulting American president Lyndon Johnson.