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Hells Angels beat attempted ban

THE Dutch Supreme Court refused yesterday to outlaw a local branch of the Hells Angels in the motorcycle club's latest legal victory.

The country's highest judicial panel said prosecutors failed to prove their claim that the Harlingen Hells Angels chapter in the northern Netherlands is a threat to public order and should be disbanded. The Supreme Court's ruling upheld two lower courts' decisions.

It said the club may be involved in undesirable and possibly criminal activities, but they are not serious enough to merit a total ban.

A ban "is a serious infringement of the freedom to gather that is at the foundation of a democratic state," the court said in its written ruling.

Dutch Hells Angels have won a string of cases against prosecutors trying to ban them, but this was the first in the country's highest court.

A parliamentary inquiry in 1995 found the Hells Angels were involved in the drug trade and smuggling women for prostitution.


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