Dutch Muslim group fined over Holocaust cartoon

AMSTERDAM Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:00pm EDT

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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A Dutch Muslim group was fined 2,500 euros ($3,200) for publishing a cartoon which suggested the Holocaust was made up or exaggerated by Jews, a Dutch appeals court ruled on Thursday.

The court in the western city of Arnhem overruled an acquittal handed down by a Dutch lower court, saying the cartoon, published on the website of the Arab European League's (AEL) in 2006, was "unnecessarily hurtful."

"The court points out that the European Court of Human Rights, which considers freedom of speech of paramount importance and defends it thoroughly, makes an exception for the denial or trivialization of the Holocaust," the court said.

The court also imposed a 2-year probation period on the AEL.

The cartoon shows two men in Auschwitz looking at several dead bodies. "I don't think they are Jews," says one man. The one man replies: "We have to get to the 6,000,000 (figure) somehow'. Six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust.

The Dutch group says it had no intention of disputing the Holocaust, but wanted instead to highlight what it described as double standards in free speech.

The AEL circulated it in 2006 after a Danish newspaper published a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad which triggered an outcry among Muslims in many countries.

(Reporting by Gilbert Kreijger; Editing by Maria Golovnina)

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