The lawyer representing anti-Islam campaigner Geert Wilders in his discrimination court case said on Friday that the MP’s comments about ‘fewer Moroccans’ should be judged by the public on election day.
Geert-Jan Knoops was speaking during a third day of procedural motions ahead of the main trial at the end of October. In Friday’s hearing at the high security court at Schiphol airport, Knoops said the case against Wilders should be dropped.
‘Statements made by politicians should be dealt with by public opinion or via the ballot box,’ Knoops said. Now judges are being asked to rule on something which is part of the PVV’s election manifesto, he said.
‘This is a programme embraced by nearly one million voters,’ he told the court. ‘You are being asked to do an impossible job. And this case is also impinging on my client’s right to freedom of expression.’
The case dates back to a post election meeting after the 2014 local vote. Wilders is on trial for discrimination and inciting hatred after leading supporters in an anti-Moroccan chant after the polls had closed.
The chanting, and other comments made several days earlier, led to two MPs, MEPs and a handful of local and provincial councillors breaking ties with the PVV. The public prosecution department also received over 6,400 complaints.
Judges will not decide on the application today. If they do reject the claim, the main trial will start at the end of October. Nine days have been set aside for the hearings.
Wilders’ PVV is currently level-pegging in the opinion polls with the ruling VVD Liberals with around 22% support. The Netherlands will have a general election next March.
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