Monday 18 November 2019

Wilders calls for inquiry after claims of trial political interference

Geert Wilders on the campaign trail. Photo: Depositphotos.com

PVV leader Geert Wilders is calling for a parliamentary inquiry into possible political interference in his trial for discrimination and inciting hatred against people with a Moroccan background.

Broadcaster RTL Nieuws and the Telegraaf newspaper have both reported that there was contact between the then-justice minister Ivo Opstelten and the head of the public prosecution department about the case in 2014.

They also say that Opstelten was keen to see Wilders prosecuted for leading the anti-Moroccan chant at a pre-election meeting.

However, current justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus is refusing to send documents detailing the meetings –which had been officially denied – to parliament, saying there are ‘no (formal) indications’ of interference by Opstelten.

Briefings

The documents, prepared as briefings for the minister, will remain secret because of the confidential information they contain, the minister told MPs.

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.’

Guilty

In December 2016, Wilders was found guilty of inciting discrimination and the 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.

The original appeal began in May last year but Wilders’ legal team successfully applied for the judges to be removed after alleging bias.

The appeal is due to resume later this month and both Opstelten and former prosecution chief Herman Bolhaar may  be on the witness list.

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