Three activists convicted in Girl with a Pearl Earring protest will be released Friday
The three Belgians who were detained following their climate protest involving the iconic painting, Girl with a Pearl Earring, will be released on Friday morning. The appeals court ruled on Thursday to suspend their detention pending the outcome of an appeal, a spokesperson for the court said. They will be released from custody around 9 a.m. on Friday.
The three climate activists, Wouter M., Pieter G. and David S., were sentenced to two months in prison, one month of which was conditionally suspended, at the beginning of this month. All three have appealed against the verdicts of the police judge in The Hague. It is not yet known when the court will hear arguments in their cases.
M. is the climate activist who stuck his head to Johannes Vermeer's masterpiece in the Mauritshuis on Thursday 27 October. David S. then threw a can of fake red soup over him, delivered a speech, and glued his left fist to the panel on which the painting is mounted. The third suspect, Pieter G., filmed the protest.
The three were immediately arrested and have been detained ever since. The lawyers wanted their clients to be able to await their appeal in freedom and submitted requests to this effect to the court.
Attorney Willem Jebbink, who represents David S. from Dendermonde, said he is extremely pleased that his client's release was ordered. "But I am also disappointed that it is a conditional release. That does not do justice to freedom of expression and freedom of demonstration. Because of those fundamental rights, I also do not expect that the appeal will result in a prison sentence or a longer prison sentence. We will have a very detailed discussion about this during the appeal process," said Jebbink.
Another attorney in the case, Azzaad Ramsaroep, said his client Wouter M. is happy that he can go home on Friday. "We still think that imposing a prison sentence was not appropriate. We are look ingforward to the appeal with confidence."
Reporting by ANP