MP Geert Wilders has been cleared of charges of inciting hatred and discrimination by a court in Amsterdam.
The court ruled that some of Wilders’ statements were insulting, shocking and on the edge of legal acceptibility, but that they were made in the broad context of a political and social debate on the multi-cultural society.
The chief judge took some 20 minutes to dismiss the charges one by one, speaking in clear, non-legal language. There was applause from the public gallery when he had finished his statement.
The public prosecution department earlier joined Wilders’ legal team in calling for a not-guilty verdict, saying certain statements by the PVV party leader were insulting, but not criminal.
The department was forced to take the case by the high court after anti-racism campaigners protested at its refusal to prosecute Wilders.
The case began on October 4 last year, but collapsed after three weeks when a special legal panel ruled the judges may have shown partiality following a string of legal blunders. New judges were then sworn in and the case was heard again this year.
More to follow
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