A court in Assen, in the east Netherlands, banned paedophile association 'Martijn' on Wednesday after ruling it as a 'threat to public order'.
'Martijn' says on its website that it was established in 1982 in the traditionally tolerant Netherlands as a “platform for discussion of pedophilia.” The case on Wednesday heard how it openly promoted sexual contact between adults and children, and presented the crime as 'something that should be normal and acceptable.'
The website has been in the headlines before, notably for posting pictures of the 3-year-old Princess Amalia of the Dutch royal family, and for their attempts in 2006 to create a political group called the Party for Brotherly Love, Freedom and Diversity to take part in national elections with policies including lowering the age of sexual consent to 12 and legalizing child pornography.
Groups such as 'Martijn', which is said to have 60 Dutch members, are practically unheard of anywhere else. Moves to ban the site have been ongoing for several months as prosecutors prepared their case.
Chairman, Marthijn Uittenbogaard, has called the ruling “an attack on the freedom of expression.” Similar websites in Norway and Denmark have failed to be outlawed because of the threat to freedom of speech, with prosecutors ruling that the sites themselves did not break any laws. The court in Assen concluded that the website 'breaches the country’s generally accepted moral values.'