Suspected member of banned pedophile club sought political asylum in Mexico
None of the summoned suspected members of the banned pedophile association Martijn appeared in court in Rotterdam on Wednesday, where the criminal case against them is being held. Nelson M. (27) from Lelystad applied for political asylum in Mexico, his lawyer Theo Hiddema said at the start of the hearing.
M. only informed his lawyer Hiddema on Tuesday evening about his whereabouts. "I received a message very late that he has applied for political asylum in Mexico. He is 9,000 kilometers away." Hiddema also said that his client "is not pleased with this criminal case. This is reflected in unruly behavior. He informed me last night that he wanted a Skype connection."
Marthijn U. (49) and Norbert de J. (43) from Hengelo did not show up either. They are accused of continuing the pedophile association banned by the Supreme Court in 2014. De J. did not appoint a lawyer to represent him.
Prosecutors are seeking one year in prison against the three men.
The suspects allegedly fought online to legalize sexual relations between adults and children. According to the Public Prosecution Service (OM), they deny or downplay the harmfulness of sexual contact between children and adults and portray children as sex objects. The OM said this happened between April 2014 and March 2021 with publications on websites and social media and in emails to members on a mailing list.
"The Martijn association contributes to a subculture in which sex with children is seen as normal and acceptable," said the public prosecutor. "The Martijn association thus affects the rights of children." According to the Public Prosecution Service, Marthijn U. used his website to describe children as sexual beings. De J. allegedly designed the site and provided its technical management.
U.'s website also refers to another site where old minutes of the banned association's meetings can be found. The Public Prosecution Service also found the minutes on M.'s hard drive. In addition, U. and M. talked about Martijn 's relaunch in Skype conversations, according to the prosecutor. Then, there was a homemade video platform on which suspects post videos about pedophilia. According to the prosecution, the suspects have "not realized for a single moment that it is psychologically harmful to children."
The court chair called it disappointing that the suspects were absent and said she would have liked to have entered into a conversation with them.
U. no longer lives in Hengelo because he does not feel safe, according to his lawyer Sidney Smeets. Smeets said his client disseminated information as a natural person and not on behalf of the Martijn association. According to the attorney, U. was not aware of the criminality of his activities. "The sentencing demand surprised me," said Smeets. "It is the first time that this section of the law has been applied and the maximum penalty is immediately proposed." He emphasized that the case is not about sexual abuse and that U. has never been guilty of it.
Nelson M. is also suspected of possessing 10,000 images of child pornography, but he was not charged for this.
The criminal case will continue on Thursday with Hiddema's defense.
Reporting by ANP.