Gregorius Nekschot, the controversial Dutch cartoonist, has had enough. January 1, he is putting away his pens for good, he told Dutch daily de Volkskrant today, and heading on to a new chapter in his life.
Nekschot – a nom-de-plume – gained renown in 2008, when Dutch law enforcement officials raided his house in the early morning hours, pulling the sleeping cartoonist from his bed in response to allegations of racism and discrimination. Those charges were the handiwork of Abdul-Jabbar van de Ven, a radical imam in the Netherlands who, among other things, praised the murder of Theo van Gogh by a radical Muslim in 2004, and has called for the death of Dutch MP Geert Wilders. Van de Ven apparently found nothing hypocritical in charging Neckschot with abusing the right to free expression in his cartoons – which are often admittedly offensive and distasteful, such as the one depicting an Osama bin-Laden look-alike fornicating with a bear. Nekschot was held for 30 hours, and his computer and CDs impounded; it took two years before the case was ultimately dismissed by the courts.