Viruswaanzin twitter account deleted after call for death penalty for Belgian virologists

Viruswaanzin twitter account deleted after call for death penalty for Belgian virologists
Credit: Belga/Provided by Michael Verstraeten

The Twitter account of the spokesperson for the Viruswaanzin group - which translates to ‘viral madness’ in Dutch - has been deleted after he suggested the death penalty for several Belgian virologists.

In an almost 16-minute video posted on 25 December, titled "The horrific year of the virologists", Viruswaanzin spokesperson Michael Verstraeten, who is a lawyer, blames Van Ranst and his colleagues directly for "130 million deaths."

He asked questions such as "Do the limbs that have to be amputated due to a lack of temporary care keep you up at night?" and "Are you awake because of the 900,000 years of life that will be lost in Britain as a result of these measures?"

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According to Verstraeten and Viruswaanzin - which sued the Belgian state and virologists over the restrictions, as well as Microsoft CEO Bill Gates - the virologists have taken "blind measures, despite [their] lack of knowledge."

Screenshots of comments on the video - shared by Marc Van Ranst - show that the statement has a lot of support among the members of Viruswaanzin, with someone even suggesting considering "the death penalty for these heinous crimes."

"Indeed," Verstraeten responded. "The judge must be allowed to consider the death penalty when people have 130 million deaths to their name. Or do you think that is not a problem, twice as many deaths as in the Second World War?"

When someone asked if such a penalty should happen "gruesomely and publicly" as the initial commenter suggested, Verstraeten reacted with "by preference."

After Van Ranst read the comments and saw the video, he filed an oral and written complaint against Verstraeten with the lawyers' Bar in Ghent, after which Verstraeten's Twitter account was deleted.

"From my position, I felt that there was an urgent need to bring some serenity to the discussion," Marnix Moerman, acting President of the Bar of Ghent, told Het Laatste Nieuws. "So, the Cabinet intervened, from the removal of the publications to further interventions."

A President of the Bar cannot arbitrarily suspend or remove a lawyer; this requires a procedure. What is possible, however, is to impose a temporary ban on the lawyer coming to court.

"We cannot accept such behaviour. The mere fact that the question can be asked whether [the video] is incitement to violence or hatred says it all," Moerman said.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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