Wilders to be tried for hate speech

Geert Wilders.
By our news staff

Geert Wilders will be tried for hate speech and inciting discrimination in a Dutch court next Wednesday.

A ruling on Tuesday took away the last obstacle standing in the way of the case against anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders, when the court dismissed his objections against prosecution.

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Wilders’ lawyer, Bram Moszkowicz, had argued his client could not be prosecuted for discriminatory insults since the Dutch supreme court had very narrowly defined that concept in a ruling last March. The supreme court then found that insulting a religion did not automatically imply an insult to its believers, meaning it could be legal.

Last Tuesday however, the lower court hearing Wilder’s objections found that the supreme court ruling did not stand in the way of Wilder’s prosecution.

The ruling paves the way for the case against Wilders to be tried, which has been long in the making.

The case against Wilders originates in several complaints filed by the Dutch lawyer Gerard Spong on behalf of several clients, including the well known Dutch comedian Jörgen Raymann and the board of the As Soennah Mosque in The Hague.

Comparing the Koran to Mein Kampf

Wilders’ contested remarks include a comparison of the Koran to Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, a reference to the prophet Muhammed as a fundamentalist who should be tarred and feathered and expelled from the Netherlands, and a remark that not a single additional Muslim should be allowed to enter the country.

The public prosecutor had first chosen not to file suit against Wilders because his remarks were made “in the context of societal debate”. A number of people successfully lodged legal objections to that decision. The judges ruled that some of Wilder’s remarks might be in violation of the law, thus warranting prosecution, including his statements comparing the Muslim faith to Nazi ideology. Wilders’ objection to that decision was turned down this Tuesday.

The first - preliminary - hearing in the case against Wilders will be held next Wednesday.

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