Thursday 12 December 2019

PVV leader Geert Wilders will be prosecuted for inciting hatred (update)

WILDERS EVENTUEEL VERVOLGD UITLATINGEN MAROKKANENThe public prosecution department is to take anti-Islam party leader Geert Wilders to court for discrimination and encouraging hatred after he led supporters in an anti-Moroccan chant at a post-election meeting.

‘Politicians can go far in what they say, that is part of freedom of speech. But the freedom is limited by the ban on discrimination,’ the short prosecution department statement said.

The department said in October it was investigating Wilders and formally questioned him on December 8.

Wilders said in a statement at the time he would not take back his words and that he did want ‘fewer Moroccans’ and ‘less Islam’ in the Netherlands. Wilders also said he would not allow himself to be silenced.

The investigation dates back to a post-vote meeting with supporters in The Hague in March, when Wilders asked the crowd ‘and do you want more or fewer Moroccans in your city and in the Netherlands?’ To which the crowd chanted ‘fewer, fewer, fewer’.

‘We’ll arrange that,’ Wilders said, smiling, when the chanting died down.

Complaints

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.

A date for the court hearing has not yet been set.

In 2010, Wilders was found not guilty of inciting hatred and discrimination at an earlier trial. Legal experts said on Thursday the new case against Wilders is stronger than the previous one.

The MP said the decision to prosecute him was ‘incomprehensible’. ‘I have said what millions of people think,’ he told news agency ANP. ‘The PVV is currently the biggest party in the polls. That obviously does not please the elite.’

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