Four of the seven Extinction Rebellion climate activists who were involved in actions in Amsterdam last year were acquitted for insufficient evidence. In the three other criminal cases, the Subdistrict Court ruled the prosecution inadmissible. This means that the court has determined that the formal requirements have not been met and that the content of the cases is not being dealt with.
Two weeks ago the public prosecutor demanded a conditional fine of 150 euros against the four acquitted activists. In one case, an acquittal was requested and prosecutors found two other activists guilty but asked the judge not to impose a sentence.
The seven suspects, five men and two women between the ages of 21 and 65, were part of a much larger group of protesters who carried out several actions in Amsterdam in October 2019 to raise awareness of climate change. The four people who were fined allegedly broke the Public Events Act after failing to respond to police calls to unblock a blockade at the Rijksmuseum and Zuidas. Two people were suspected of disrupting public order in the Blauwbrug.
The Subdistrict Court stated in Thursday’s ruling that freedom to demonstrate is a fundamental right. Regarding the three cases in which the prosecution was ruled inadmissible, the judge said that the prosecution was “against due process”. For example, the suspects were held for far too long and the files lacked an official record of the suspects’ arrest. As a result, the judge could not rely on facts.
In the other four cases an official report had been drawn up, but there was no clear evidence that the demonstrations had ended on the orders of the mayor. Nor could it be established that the suspects belonged to the group of demonstrators who did not obey the police’s instructions. As a result, the four suspects were acquitted.