AZ fans not prosecuted for antisemitic chants in the Netherlands

Over 150 AZ fans were detained for singing antisemitic chants in the Amsterdam metro before an Ajax-AZ game in May, but they will not be prosecuted.

Before an Ajax-AZ game in May, 154 AZ Alkmaar fans were arrested for chanting antisemitic lines in the metro in Amsterdam. However, the Public Prosecution Service (OM) announced on Tuesday, September 5, that the perpetrators won’t be prosecuted, reports the NL Times. The OM claims they cannot establish „a clear link between the individual members of the arrested group and the group insult.”

The incident occurred on May 6, 2023, when 154 fans of the football club AZ Alkmaar were arrested for group insult in Amsterdam for singing antisemitic songs in a subway before an Ajax-AZ match in the evening. According to NH Nieuws, a regional public broadcaster in The Netherlands, the incident included chants about sending Jews to gas chambers or wishing for their death. Ajax has long been targeted with antisemitism.

The OM explained that criminal law primarily targets individuals; therefore, identifying individual criminals during a group arrest is necessary. They claim that despite „an extensive investigation,” no exact individuals who sang the antisemitic chants could be identified. Therefore, the prosecutor ruled that there was inadequate legal and conclusive evidence to prosecute them for group insult.

Nevertheless, the prosecutor emphasised that discriminatory expressions are unacceptable and cannot be tolerated. „That such songs are sung in Amsterdam, two days after the National Remembrance of the Dead on Dam Square, makes it even more painful,” the OM wrote in the dismissal letter sent to the arrested supporters.

The Center for Information and Documentation Israel (CIDI), a leading organisation in the Netherlands dedicated to combating antisemitism, said that by not prosecuting the perpetrators, the OM „sends the message that people can apparently get away with this, as long as it happens in a large group.”


Photo credit: VNL Nieuws