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Wilders should be prosecuted, says court

Wednesday 21 January 2009

MP Geert Wilders, who leads the anti-immigration PVV party, should be prosecuted for discrimination and inciting hatred, Amsterdam's appeal court ruled on Wednesday.

'This is a black day for me and for freedom of speech,' Wilders told the Telegraaf on Wednesday. 'I had not expected it [this ruling].'

The public prosecution department has received dozens of complaints about Wilders' anti-Islam film Fitna and his statements in the media over the past few years.

But at the end of June last year, the department said it did not have enough grounds to prosecute him and that a healthy legal system should allow plenty of leeway to people involved in political debate.

Newspaper letters

The appeal court said that while freedom of speech was important, there were limits to that freedom.

Several of the complaints relate to articles or letters by Wilders which were published in the Volkskrant newspaper. For example, in August 2007 he called for the Koran to be banned. 'I have had enough of Islam in the Netherlands: no more Muslim immigrants,' the MP wrote. He also compared the Koran to Adolf Hitler's book Mein Kampf.

Lawyer Haroon Raza, one of those who asked the court of appeal for its position, points to the 'massive social unrest' which Wilders has generated and says this is why he should be prosecuted.

Wilders' refusal to debate the issues with Muslims themselves means that those who feel insulted by his comments cannot counter the claims he makes, Raza told the Volkskrant.

Multiple complaints

Anti-racist organisation Nederland Bekent Kleur had also appealed against the public prosecution department's reluctance to take Wilders to court.

The organisation has made three formal complaints about Wilders and other PVV MPs, relating to a total of 96 statements, the Volkskrant says.

The public prosecution department said in a reaction that it would abide by the court´s decision but could not say when legal action would be taken against Wilders.

Over the past two years, the Netherlands has prosecuted several people for calling police officers 'homo (gay) and insulting the queen.

The PVV has nine seats in parliament but according to latest opinion polls would win 12 if an election was held now.

For more reactions, click here

Should Wilders be prosecuted? To take part in our poll, click here

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

Any message that promote antisemitism, antichristians, antimoslem, racism, sexism, etc should be prosecuted. Now we are a century where everyone should be respected no matter your race,color,religion,country,etc. Message of hatred should belong to the past. HOPE IS FOR ALL. RESPECTING EACH OTHER IS WHAT MAKE THE WORLD ROTATE.

By kwabena | 21 January 2009 12:58 PM

Are we limiting Wilders because it is easier ?
Why European states do not prosecute those who call to kill certain journalists or writers, or those who cry freely in the street "death to Israel, death to America" ?
I am affraid will all know the reason why...

By Adik | 21 January 2009 1:49 PM

Holland has gone mad. Dutch people (as I) cannot say what we want due to newcomers feeling insulted. Wilders has made some statements which some disagreed with but nevertheless the statements were not against the dutch law. A 6 month police investigation came to this conclusion. However in Holland you will always find a judge who is willing to make a case, if you search long enough. There are persons who will go on and on complaining untill they find someone who will agree with them. Will their case stand a chance? I don't think so, it will only backfire. The dutch will turn their back on newcomers who insist on behaving like this. But no country would accept this, it has nothing to do with intoloerance.

By sander | 21 January 2009 1:54 PM

mr. Wilders does say things that would be deemed ANTI. However, he is looking out for the Netherlands and trying to protect Dutch society as a whoel as the demographics change rapidly. the courts ruling is quite a shame because it gives the OK for a nice majority of the immigrant population not to assimilate into dutch society. Just like a teenager who we see every day, we don't see his growth in height because we see him daily...so too with the netherlands. The Dutch will one day become a minority because we are already used to the daily changing of society that we do not and can not feel it's real impact. The double standard is crazy! Where are all the arrests of imams preaching hatred in the mosques of amsterdam, Rotterdam, Den haag, Zaandam....and many many more. Once again...Political correctness over rides common sense and collective responsibility. Mr. Wilders should not use such language and should be way more diplomatic, but to prosecute him is going to far. I think a stern warning is appropriate. In the meantime...he's looking out for you. Geert received 42 percent in the poll on this site as the politician of the year. i am interested to see what this next polls' results will be.

By brock davis | 21 January 2009 2:00 PM

While I believe the comments to be offensive, prosecuting hate speech is a difficult line to walk, as the definition of hate speech in itself seems to be too open to legal interpretation. I'm glad I don't have to be in a position to define what is and isn't protected under the law.

By Ben | 21 January 2009 2:06 PM

I believe that laws that restrict freedom of speech are wrong, including lèse majesté, censorship, i.e., banning Mein Kampf, and blasphemy laws.

However, if The Netherlands continues to have these outdated laws, they must be applied fairly and without prejudice or privilege for any specific individual or group. Therefore, Wilders should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

By Quest | 21 January 2009 2:56 PM

Rights come with responsibilities. He may have the right say what he wants, but he also has a responsibility to listen to others.

By CW | 21 January 2009 3:34 PM

I think he should prosecuted for this hair style :)

By Rupo van Lucht | 21 January 2009 4:04 PM

I think everybody should be able to say what he/she wants. But one thing: Wilders is NOT trying to protect Dutch society. He's totally in love with the US, especially their 52nd state Israel's cause to stay a theocracy. He's only vampiring on the fear of ordinary people who see the world around them changing too fast and who are loosing their sence of identity (no mather what 'newcomers' or other scapegoats come to stage). Most people in the Netherlands are totally unaware of the world outside their borders and are frustrated by their inability to understand that nationalism is stupid, as is institutionalised religion, ideology etc. When finance, energy, climate or whatever shit hits the fan, we've got a race war on our hands thanks to crazy neo-con zionists like Geert. Thanks for ruining our world [sic]!

By Piet | 21 January 2009 4:28 PM

The freedom of expression should never be used to call for hate and discrimination.
It's very fair to condemn Anti-Islam as much as condemning Antisemitism, and it will be very fair also to condemn the new wave of Zionist terrorism as much as we condemned Islamist terrorist groups and Nazi practices.
Using the same standards to deal with issues is the solution.

By Free Mind | 21 January 2009 4:39 PM

To each, his own, thats right. Just don't throw it in my face, if I'm just trying to do my own thing!

By Kimberly | 21 January 2009 5:20 PM

I don't think we should encourage people to attack others based on something they can't help, like their race, but I'm really sick of people acting like religion is not a choice. If someone can challenge me for my beliefs that we should have more government involvement in health care or that Israel is mishandling Gaza, then I should be able to challenge their beliefs that the world was created in one week. I haven't had time to study the Quran, so I don't know what its message is really about, but when I read a few random passages I think about 10 out of 25 or so involved killing infidels. I doubt most Muslims want to kill infidels, but I also don't think Wilders is just trying to incite hate. Prosecuting discussion is a bad move.

By Weston (Oakland - Unisted States) | 21 January 2009 6:04 PM

Freedome of speach should not include things like: 'Throw all gays form the tops of buildings.' That Imam should be thrown out of the country.
Wilders should be forced to resign from politics. People Wilders and that Imam should not be leading people.

By Darren | 21 January 2009 6:33 PM

Absolute disgrace. They have been out to get Wilders for a long time since Fitna which told the truth, in fact he could have said a lot more. Think Fatima and how the muslims abuse their female family members.
I hope there will be a demonstration in support of him, I for one will be there.Wilders lot are not the Fascists, they are.

By Stefan | 21 January 2009 6:34 PM

This is good news for Mr. Wilders. The courts don’t stand a chance and he gets much free publicity.
The stupid left will never learn.

By Kees | 21 January 2009 10:23 PM

How did it come to be that you opened so wide your doors to Islam? A social experiment to "dilute" or even convert? The birthrate of Islamic countries are among the highest, whereas the birthrate of ethnic Dutch among the lowest. In less than 24 years, Netherlands will be majority Muslim. This will end the conflict over Free Speech. There will be none, except "Death to the USA".

By Jasper | 22 January 2009 12:00 AM

Mr. Wilders has never ever crossed the line of the law and is not a racist nor did he incite hatred! I Hope that he fights this case and goes to the European human rights court.

By Sandra | 22 January 2009 7:23 AM

I am saddened and outraged that NL will criminally prosecute Geert Wilders based solely upon his expressions of personal opinion. Regardless of the outcome of his trial, and whether or not he is punished, this shameful decision by NL will have a chilling effect upon freedom of speech. The damage has already been done.

"Among people who have learned something from the 18th century (say, Voltaire) it is a truism, hardly deserving discussion, that the defense of the right of free expression is not restricted to ideas one approves of, and that it is precisely in the case of ideas found most offensive that these rights must be most vigorously defended."
-- Noam Chomsky, 1980

By Matt Fitt | 22 January 2009 6:58 PM

So will these "hate speech" laws apply also to Muslims who want to kill gays?

What about those who say the Koran gives them permission to beat their wives?

Or those who say Islam calls for the death of non-believers?

I think we all know the answer. "Hate speech" laws are politically correct Left-wing ideas designed to protect those who are free to spew as much hate as they want because of "cultural sensitivity."

Europeans should be ashamed of what COWARDS they have become.

By JanBurton | 22 January 2009 10:48 PM

Let's try to be fair, Freedom of speech is not unlimited. I mean, you are free to think about me the way you want. But if you gonna say something about me, you MUST NOT offend me. And if the freedom of speech is absolute, then may be tomorrow we find that people start talking about death fights as a hobby, and so on. And just be fair to yourself, when anybody talk about jews everybody defend them "antisemtism" and whenever somebody talks about islam "its terrorism" it does not make any sense"BE FAIR"

By O'Kily | 23 January 2009 11:02 PM

Maybe we should look at Wilders’ trial as a defining moment. It is an opportunity to tell the world that Islam is a violent “faith”, and people who blast it are trying to protect the world peace from an unprecedented evil. The trial will expose Islam. Both Muslims and non-Muslims will realize that it is Islam and the Koran which are behind Islamic terrorism.

I’m an Islam expert teaching sociology of Islam at Bielefeld University. I don’t have Wilders email address. If you have it or have access to him, please tell him that I’m ready to be a witness on his trial.

Prof. Dr. Sami Alrabaa

My phone is (0049) 521 23 99 25 9, in Germany.

By Sami Alrabaa | 24 January 2009 9:30 AM

Dr Sami Alrabaa - you can easily contact Geert Wilders through his website (http://www.geertwilders.nl/).

I think Mr Wilders is sailing pretty close to the wind. And I'm perfectly happy for the courts to look at the question of whether he's incited hatred or not. His statements regarding the destruction of the Koran are certainly in conflict with the Dutch constitution which guarantees freedom of religious expression, as well as freedom of speech.

By Louise | 2 February 2009 9:03 PM

Any message that promote antisemitism, antichristian, antipagan, antiSikh, antiBahai, antiHindu, antigay, antiwoman, handchopping, flogging, killing for thought crimes, issuing fatwas for writers etc should be prosecuted. Now we are a century where everyone should be respected no matter your race,color,religion,country,etc. Message of hatred should belong to the past. HOPE IS FOR ALL. RESPECTING EACH OTHER IS WHAT MAKE THE WORLD ROTATE.

By Bruce | 17 June 2009 4:43 PM

I have been reading a lot on here the topic DutchNews.nl - Wilders should be prosecuted, says court inspired me, i have picked up some really great ideas. Thanks and i hope to see more soon.

By Haarentfernung | 30 November 2010 6:34 AM

Even if I don't agree with many of MP Wilders statements, the fact he is being harassed by pro-Sharia (is Sharia Law who has abominations like "blasphemy") activists in government make me sympathetic to him and even likely to vote for his party to boost his quest for Freedom of Speech, though he has a speech I sharply disagree with.

Contrary to many Imhans and alike, he never defended the use of violence, indeed, he is denouncing those who promote violence. He has every right to defend that Netherlands should me more selective in picking up immigrants who are more likely to adapt (from Europe, Australia, Americas) and shutting the door for others. After all, wannabe immigrants are not citizens!

By Andre L. | 30 November 2010 11:09 AM

'Wilders should be prosecuted, says court'.

When an individual tries to impose criminal practices (according to Nuremberg trial), as ethnic registration, deployed by Nazis, is a serious suspected of criminal intentions.

If he is accompanied by a gang of convicted delinquents as MPs, suspicions raise.

By zenplus | 30 November 2010 12:25 PM

May joy and happiness snow on you, may the bells jingle for you and may Santa be extra good to you! Merry Christmas!

By Deborah J. | 26 December 2010 8:34 PM

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