The judges in Geert Wilders ‘fewer Moroccans’ appeal court trial are to be replaced after Wilders’ legal team successfully applied to have them removed.
This means the appeal, which started on Thursday and should have run for 11 days, will now be delayed while new judges are appointed and brought up to speed.
Wilders had wanted to delay the trial so his legal team could carry out more research into the decision not to prosecute D66 leader Alexander Pechtold for comments he made about Russians. Wilders claims there are parallels between the two cases.
The court refused the request, leading Wilders’ legal team to challenge their impartiality.
A special chamber of judges ruled on Friday that that decision not to give Wilders more time to look into the Pechtold decision was not properly justified and ordered the judges to be removed.
Wilders’ lawyer Geert-Jan Knoops wants to use the Pechtold case to show that the public prosecution department is biased about whom it chooses to prosecute.
The public prosecution department said earlier this year it would not take action against the D66 leader for saying he had never met a Russian ‘who corrects his mistakes himself’ even though several complaints were made against him.
The ‘fewer Moroccans’ case dates back to 2014 when Wilders asked a roomful of supporters if they wanted to have ‘more or fewer’ Moroccans in the country. When the crowd shouted back: ‘Fewer, fewer,’ Wilders responded: ‘We’ll take care of that.’
In December 2016, Wilders was found guilty of inciting discrimination against Dutch Moroccans. A panel of three judges said Wilders’s comments were ‘demeaning and insulting to the Moroccan population’.
However, the court decided not to fine or sentence Wilders on the basis that a criminal conviction was sufficient punishment in itself.
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