Dutch conspiracy theorist jailed for inciting violence and threatening eminent virologist

Micha Kat, who was extradited from Northern Ireland, called for kidnap and referred to judges as ‘targets’

One of the Netherlands’ most notorious conspiracy theorists, extradited home from Northern Ireland in 2022, has been jailed for two years for incitement to violence, sedition and making public threats against an eminent virologist who led the Dutch government’s campaign against coronavirus.

Prof Jaap van Dissel (66), director of the centre for disease control at the public health institute RIVM until retiring last month, was given 24-hour police protection during the pandemic after he was falsely accused of being a Satanist involved in the ritualistic murder of children.

Mr Van Dissel was harassed in the street when his private address was revealed online. Over a long period, scores of conspiracy theorists descended on the village of Bodegraven to place flowers on the graves of children allegedly killed by the Satanists of whom, they claimed, Mr Van Dissel was the leader.

So distressed did the families of the deceased children become at the unwanted visitors to the graves that the local authority in Bodegraven was forced to use emergency powers to ban them from the graveyard and introduce permanent security, which remains in place.


Micha Kat (60), an Amsterdammer who describes himself as a former journalist, was convicted on Tuesday by a court in The Hague of being a leader of the protracted campaign against Mr Van Dissel, who was chair of the government’s covid outbreak management team.

He had threatened Mr Van Dissel, called for him to be kidnapped, and had “taken for granted that others would take his words literally”, said the court ruling.

The judges said Kat had also incited violence against the legal and the law enforcement systems, against the municipality of Bodegraven-Reeuwijk and its mayor, and against the daily newspaper, AD, and a number of its journalists.

He had, for example, routinely referred to judges as “targets”.

The court rejected Kat’s contention that he had made some of his more extreme statements as a journalist, claiming that this gave him additional entitlement to freedom of expression.

It agreed with the prosecution that “the frequent use of terms such as ‘child murderers’ and ‘child rapists’ has nothing to do with journalism”.

Kat was sentenced to 28 months in prison, four of which were suspended. He was also given three years on probation “partly in view of the major social impact his actions have had”.

“Because of the risk of recidivism”, he was also ordered not to have contact for three years with other members of the group who spread the Satanism allegations, with each violation adding one week to his sentence.

While Kat fled to Northern Ireland, three of his fellow conspiracists were jailed last year and ordered to pay a total of €215,000 in damages to Bodegraven municipal council to cover the cost of security.

Neither Kat, who was once described by De Volkskrant newspaper as “the uncrowned king of the madhouse”, nor his lawyer was present in court for the conviction.

He has previously been convicted, quite separately, of bomb threats, vandalism and slander, and of threatening the editor-in-chief of Dutch public broadcaster, NOS.

Peter Cluskey

Peter Cluskey

Peter Cluskey is a journalist and broadcaster based in The Hague, where he covers Dutch news and politics plus the work of organisations such as the International Criminal Court