Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Dutch Court Upholds Ban on Hells Angels MC

Arnhem, Netherlands (December 15, 2020) BTN - The Arnhem-Leeuwarden Court of Appeal issued an appeal in the case in which the Public Prosecution Service claimed that Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, Hells Angels Motorcycle Club Holland and Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation The Netherlands will be banned.

Activities contrary to public order in the Netherlands

The court finds that the global organization of Hells Angels should be seen as a foreign corporation and the organization of the Dutch charters as an informal association. The court finds that the Public Prosecution Service has sufficiently demonstrated that the activities of these two organizations are contrary to public order in the Netherlands and considers a prohibition of these organizations necessary.

Violent culture

There have been frequent violent incidents and possession of weapons involving members of Hells Angels, both worldwide and in the Netherlands. This is a structural situation that cannot be seen in isolation from the culture of violence that exists at Hells Angels. An important factor is the violent image, in which that violence is encouraged and glorified in various ways. 

Another factor in their decision is the rivalry with other motorcycle clubs, which regularly leads to power struggles and accompanying violent confrontations. These conflicts between different motorcycle clubs are fought more than once amidst the public on the street. Intimidation of members and former members, victims and witnesses furthermore makes action by the police and the judicial authorities much more difficult.

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The prohibition of Hells Angels and Hells Angels Holland that has been pronounced by the court therefore remains in force.

The charters

The court also finds that the charters are sub divisions of Hells Angels Holland, but also meet the characteristics of an informal association. They have the freedom to regulate the course of events at the local level, bottom-up structure. The charters are therefore legal entities themselves and therefore do not fall under the prohibition and dissolution of Hells Angels Holland. 

Nevertheless, the court finds that once the prohibition of Hells Angels and Hells Angels Holland is irrevocable, the activities of the charters and the members, as Hells Angels in the Netherlands, are prohibited. This means, for example, that Hells Angels are no longer allowed to wear their colors in public and the charters are no longer allowed to use this name.

Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation 

The organization in the US that holds the trademark rights of Hells Angels is not banned because it does not appear that those activities are also contrary to public policy.

SOURCE: Dutch News