Tuesday 26 May 2020

Court tells minister to come up with more Wilders’ trial documents

Justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus has been ordered by judges to redouble his efforts to find documents relating to the decision to take PVV leader Geert Wilders to court for his ‘fewer Moroccans’ chant in 2014.

RTL Nieuws went to court using freedom of information legislation in an effort to get hold of more documents relating to the case. In particular, RTL wants to know if former justice minister Ivo Opstelten was involved in the decision to prosecute Wilders.

Wilders has called on the public prosecution department to drop the case, alleging that there was political interference in the decision-making process, but the department has consistently denied coming under ministerial pressure.

Last month appeal court judges agreed to delay the continuation of the trial until December 9 to give the defence more time to collect evidence of possible political interference.

That decision is unconnected to the RTL case.

Supporters

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

Both Wilders and the public prosecution department appealed against that ruling.

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