Thursday 19 September 2019

Wilders ‘fewer Moroccans’ trial will proceed pending further research, judges rule

Efforts by Geert Wilders’ lawyer to have a court case for discrimination dismissed on the grounds of political interference have so far failed, but judges are planning to investigate the claim further.

Judges at the high security court at Schiphol airport said on Thursday that the case would go ahead as planned but that ‘more research’ is needed and this will take place during the actual trial.

Geert-Jan Knoops told the high security court at Schiphol airport on Tuesday that the case against Wilders should be dropped after it transpired that the then-justice minister Ivo Opstelten had discussed the case with senior department officials.

Current justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus told MPs on Tuesday that there was no question of political interference and that the department had already decided to prosecute Wilders before the meeting in the memo.

Moroccans

The 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. Wilders was also found guilty of insulting Dutch people of Moroccan origin as a group, but cleared of inciting hatred against them.

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