Dutch court jails 2 men for 5 years for attack on reporter

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A Dutch court sentenced two men to five years in prison Monday after convicting them of attempted murder and arson for throwing a Molotov cocktail into a journalist’s home in a late-night attack last year.

The court said the two men, identified by Dutch media as Tjeerd P. and Jaimy W. in line with privacy guidelines, launched the attack because one objected to what he considered the negative tone of the reporter’s coverage of demonstrations against the Dutch government’s coronavirus lockdown measures.

The court in the northern city of Groningen said the attackers threw a beer bottle filled with kerosine through a window in the front door of the reporter’s home in the early hours of Aug. 19, last year, causing a small fire.

Nobody was injured in the attack, but the reporter, Willem Groeneveld, said in a victim impact statement during the trial that since the attack “he has always been on his guard and feels partly deprived of his journalistic freedom,” the court said.

It added that: “Journalistic freedom is an important pillar of the democratic constitutional state. Journalists have an important role in shaping social discussions and must be able to express themselves freely, without having to fear for their safety.”

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