Far right MP Geert Wilders will find out later on Friday if his earlier conviction for inciting discrimination against people of Moroccan descent will be upheld.
The case dates back well over six years, to the 2014 local elections, when Wilders led a crowd of supporters in a prepared chant of ‘fewer, fewer, fewer’ after asking his audience if they wanted more or fewer Moroccans.
In 2016, he was found guilty of inciting discrimination on that charge, but not guilty of saying at an election meeting several days earlier that he would like to see fewer Moroccans in The Hague.
Wilders and his legal team described his conviction as ‘completely nuts’, attacked the judges as ‘PVV haters’ and immediately launched an appeal.
It has taken almost four years for that appeal to be completed, via attempts to have the judges removed, one of which was successful, and various other procedural issues.
From the outset, Wilders has described his trial as a ‘political process’, and the appeal has focused more on his claims of interference by the justice minister of the day, than on the chanting itself.
Yet despite the emergence of emails showing that senior ministry officials kept abreast of progress and made suggestions about how the case should proceed, the public prosecution department has been adamant that it was not influenced and made its own decisions.
Wilders was found guilty of discrimination in 2016 but not punished. The public prosecutor is calling for a €5,000 fine this time round.
The three judges will give their verdict in the high security court at Schiphol airport on Friday afternoon. What ever the verdict, experts say the case is unlikely to end here, and could end up being referred to the Supreme Court.
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