The Dutch authorities have arrested the cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot (a pseudonym. Nekschot means deathblow, litt: "shot in the back of the neck" [An interview with Nekschot here]). The judicial authorities in Amsterdam said yesterday that the cartoonist was arrested as a suspect for the criminal offense of "publishing cartoons which are discriminating for Muslims and people with dark skin."

The cartoonist was arrested on Tuesday, while the police searched his house for "discriminating evidence." His computer, backups, usb sticks, mobile phone and a number of drawings were confiscated. Nekschot was released two days later but it is possible that he will be charged following a complaint in 2005 by the Dutch imam Abdul Jabbar van de Ven, an indigenous Dutchman who converted to Islam.

According to the Dutch public prosecutor Nekschot "makes his profession" of drawing cartoons of "an insulting and/or discriminating nature." Ernst Hirsch Ballin, the Dutch minister of Justice, a Christian-Democrat, said that it took the police three years to discover the real identity of the cartoonist.

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