UPDATEWillem Engel will hear tomorrow afternoon at 1 pm whether he should stay longer in the cell for encouragement. This was announced by the court in Rotterdam this afternoon after the council chamber.
The 45-year-old foreman of Viruswaarheid was arrested on Wednesday 16 March for incitement. Angel, that compares himself to Nelson Mandela and in his own words as ‘a hero received in prison’, would have posted ‘flammable corona-related messages’ on social media for an extended period of time. “These reviews have led to other people committing or inciting criminal acts,” the public prosecutor’s office said.
At the end of last year, a collective declaration, signed by 22,581 people, was filed against Engel at the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Rotterdam. They believe Rotterdammer is guilty of incitement, spreading medical disinformation, fraud, statements with terrorist intent and threats. According to Engel, the report is false and contains no criminal record.
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In addition to this case, Engel would appear before a police judge in The Hague tomorrow afternoon for having ignored a police order during a demonstration in The Hague on October 10, 2020. Engel was initially also responsible for incitement via Facebook. He called for officers to be arrested during a civilian arrest. He did so during a livestream.
However, the police judge will not deal with the content of the case, it was announced today, but will refer it to a multi-chamber with three judges. The reason for this will be explained by the judge during the hearing. Angel will be present. It is not yet clear if he risks a harsher punishment. “It can also be good news for him, because more precise assessments can be made,” explains lawyer Peter Schouten. “The sword of Damocles hanging over his head just gets a little sharper.” A police judge can sentence a maximum of one year in prison, a multi-chamber has no maximum penalty.
The case is gaining more weight
This development gives the Engel case a little more weight, says lawyer Mark-Jan Bouwman. “In itself, utterance offenses can be legally so complex that the treatment of a multi-chamber is better. Similar to the case of Geert Wilders. “Manifestation violations are cases involving the crime of something you have said or written.
Lawyer Barry van de Luijtgaarden suspects that the police judge ‘does not dare to speak in this specific case, but that he will leave it to three judges to let them pass a verdict’. ‘It could mean that custody is terminated if the court does not make a decision. Shortly before the end of the term, the court must always make a decision. ”
The two cases are not currently being merged, but are being processed separately. From the Rotterdam Prison Service, Engel states that he sees himself as a ‘political prisoner’. “I am not the first political prisoner. I am now almost honored to follow in Nelson Mandela’s footsteps, one of my examples who also fought against discrimination and apartheid. ” He sees his arrest as a confirmation of the ‘certainty of a dictatorship’.
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