Climate activists who targeted The Girl with the Pearl Earring have been sentenced to prison
AMSTERDAM, Nov 2 (Reuters) – Two Belgian climate change activists who last week targeted Johannes Vermeer’s famous painting Girl with a Pearl Earring The Dutch court sentenced them to two months in prison, one month of which was suspended.
To show how seeing a piece of art destroyed feels like seeing the planet destroyed, an activist stuck his head on the glass covering a world-famous painting at The Hague Museum, even though the artwork was not damaged, gallery officials said.
“A work of art that is up for all of us, for all of us to enjoy, has been tarnished by defendants who felt that their message took precedence over everything else,” the prosecutor said.
The prosecutor had asked for four months, two of which were suspended, but the judge said he did not want his sentence to discourage other people from showing up.
The two men were tried by summary judgment on charges of destruction of the painting and open violence. The third activist, who did not agree with the speedy course of the trial, will appear in court on Friday.
All three are part of the climate group Just Stop Oil Belgium, which is not affiliated with Just Stop Oil in Britain. Just Stop Oil Belgium said the verdict was “ironic”.
“Isn’t it ironic that climate activists who non-violently oppose the mass killing of life on Earth are condemned,” the group’s letter said.
Reporting by Charlotte Van Kempenhout; Editing by Josie Kao
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