Activist files terrorism allegations against Covid denier
Activist Norbert Dikkeboom filed charges of incitement, fraud, medical misinformation, and making statements with a terrorist intent against Willem Engel, the leader of the anti-coronavirus group Viruswaarheid. Over 22,000 people joined the case and filed complaints against Engel, NOS reports.
According to Dikkeboom, Engel made statements intended to instill fear and destabilize political and social structures. He sees that as terrorism. Engel is guilty of this almost every day by portraying the government as a "regime" and by remarking that politicians should be condemned "and so on" for what they do during this period, Dikkeboom said.
Dikkeboom disagrees with people who say Engel should just be ignored. "He repeats his remarks and statements, which are generally lies, so often that there is a large group of people in the Netherlands who think: if he says it so often, there must be a grain of truth in it," he said to NOS. And that can be dangerous, Dikkeboom said, referring to Engel's recommendations on medicine to take for Covid-19. "Maybe there's the time you need to intervene."
Engel also filed charges against Dikkeboom, accusing him of libel, slander, and hate speech.
Criminal defense attorney Luuk Arends told NOS that it would be challenging to prosecute Engel based on these charges. "For incitement, you must incite a criminal offense or violent action, and that seems difficult to prove here." Engel will likely invoke freedom of speech, which he said is hard to argue against.
Engel will appear in court next week on incitement charges based on a Facebook post in October last year. He wrote: "Yes, then we might have to put police officers under citizens' arrest because they are holding us hostage." According to the Public Prosecution Service, that is incitement against public authorities.