Nieuws - 26 januari 2011

Troublemakers penalized

The court has sentenced one of those taking part in the student demonstration in The Hague to eight weeks in prison, four of which are suspended. The Public Prosecution Service had demanded an eight week non-suspended prison sentence. Others who had been arrested got lighter sentences.

 The man, from Wassenaar, had thrown stones at the police and chucked bikes on the road to hold up charges by the riot police. According to the Public Prosecution Service, he already had previous convictions for overt violence and had already received six community punishment orders. The suspect said that he panicked and wanted to protect the people from police violence.
A second suspect was sentenced to eighty hours of community service by the 'fast-track court'. This University of Amsterdam student, taking degrees in both politics and history, had no prior convictions. He admits to having thrown stones but says he did not throw any bricks. The public prosecutor had demanded a prison sentence of six weeks with two weeks suspended.
Case number three has been postponed as the suspect and his lawyer have not agreed to the accelerated proceedings. The offence involved is more serious: the man is said to have beaten a member of the riot police with a stick. He could get 4.5 years in prison for that. The student will remain in detention and will be brought before the court again next Friday.
The fourth suspect, an eighteen-year-old student at Delft University, admits throwing a beer can at the riot police and says he's sorry. Fortunately the can was only half full, claims his lawyer. The Public Prosecution Service demands eighty hours community service but the judge is milder: the student gets forty hours community service and can return home this evening.
The final person to appear before the fast-track court is a twenty-seven-year-old Spaniard who was visiting friends here and joined the demonstration in solidarity with them. The Public Prosecution Service claims he also threw things at the riot police but the Spaniard denies this: the perpetrator apparently wore face piercings and he doesn't have those. He did resist arrest but that was only due to a misunderstanding.
The public prosecutor demands a prison sentence of three weeks, with one week suspended. But the judge acquits him of pelting the riot police and only sentences him to a fine of five hundred euros for resisting arrest.
The Public Prosecution Service and a journalist for De Telegraaf newspaper (and initially a journalist for the Volkskrant newspaper as well) twittered during the proceedings so that everybody could follow what was happening.