A Dutch appeals court has lifted a ban on an organisation which lobbies for the legalisation of sex between adults and children, after finding that the group was not breaking any laws in The Netherlands.
A civil court in the north-eastern town of Assen last year ordered the Martijn foundation to disband, saying its stance was “a grave infraction of the values of our society”.
But an appeals court in Leeuwarden has ruled that the group, which claims it does not promote sexual abuse and insists it is “a platform for discussion of paedophilia”, could not be outlawed because its existence did not threaten society, the Dutch News website reported.
The court accepted arguments a group lobbying for paedophilia did go against “certain principles in the Dutch criminal system” but argued society was strong enough to withstand such “undesirable statements and abhorrent behaviour” without banning it.
And while a number of its members have been jailed on child pornography charges, the court found that the words and photographs on the organisation’s website did not break any laws.
The head of the organisation, Martijn Uittenbogaard, said the group’s 60 members would meet to decide what to do next.
Christian groups said they would continue to try to change the law and get the group, which is widely reviled in the country, banned.