King Willem Alexander,
King Willem-Alexander and his wife, Queen Maxima Reuters

A man from Netherlands was sentenced to 30 days in prison for insulting the king. A court in Overijssel dealt the punishment under a rarely-used 19<sup>th century law that prohibits nationals from saying damaging statements against the royal.

The 44-year-old from the city of Kampen, whose name was not disclosed, had posted a message on his Facebook page in April 2015 calling King Willem-Alexander a murderer, rapist, oppressor and thief. Under the law, he was found guilty of "Insulting the Majesty", a crime that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of €20,000 ($22,200/ £16,700).

The man has also doctored images of executions to feature the king's face in place of the victims.

"Hereby the defendant damaged the dignity of the King," wrote Judge Sylvia Taalman in her decision. "This behaviour is not acceptable in our society and demands that a penalty be imposed on the suspect."

However, aside from the 14 days in preventative custody in 2015, the man will not spend any more time in jail. The court suspended the remaining 16 days of his prison term.

The sentencing has once again brought into focus the debate regarding the antiquated law and the need for it to be scrapped. The Dutch political party D66 has proposed its removal and the king also pledged to accept the outcome of any debate on the issue.

The last time this law was used was in 2014 when a man was arrested for shouting obscene slogans against the royal family during a protest. Charges against him were dropped following public criticism of the law and its restrictions on free speech.

Forty nine-year-old King Willem-Alexander ascended the throne in 2013 after his mother Queen Beatrice abdicated but is yet to enjoy the same amount of public approval as that of his mother or his Argentinian-born wife, Queen Maxima.