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April 17, 2003

18 years for a political killing?

Dutch Court Sentences Killer of Politician to 18-Year Term. In a liberal democracy it seems that politically motivated killings are especially chilling to the free exercise of thought and the development of healthy faction.

The panel of three judges today gave an implicit answer. They said the killing, although violating the nation's values, had not endangered democracy itself. They were not imposing a life sentence, they said, because they had been persuaded that Mr. van der Graaf was not likely to repeat his crime.
Mr. van der Graaf told the court, after many months of silence, why he had decided to shoot Mr. Fortuyn, a gay former sociology professor and a rising political star who campaigned on an eclectic mix of liberal and right-wing ideas. He said the politician was a dangerous man "who abused democracy by picking on vulnerable groups" and who had awful ideas"about immigrants, asylum seekers, Muslims, animals and the environment."

Mr. van der Graaf might not repeat the crime. The article states he might be out in 12 years. What sort of message does this send to radicals of all stripes who wish to leap-frog around the democratic process? Proscription and political murder have a long history-the recent model of non-violent power transitions are the historical exceptions. Does anyone doubt that there are many fanatics who would trade 12 years of their life for the expiration of their political enemies and the possible destruction of their causes through terror? The irony in this specific case is that Pim's death galvanized Dutch society and many of his positions have influenced the spectrum from the Left to the Right.

Please note that this sort of sentence is not exceptional in The Netherlands for killings. (via Kaus Files)

Posted by razib at 11:37 PM

With attitudes like that, no wonder Islamists are flocking to the Netherlands.

Posted by: duende at April 18, 2003 07:20 AM