A Dutch court has convicted populist anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders of hate speech charges at the end of a trial he branded a politically motivated “charade” that endangered freedom of speech.
Presiding Judge Hendrik Steenhuis said the court would not impose a sentence on Wilders, saying that the conviction was punishment enough for a democratically elected politician.
The charges stem from a 2014 incident in which Wilders led supporters to chant that they wanted “Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!” Moroccans in the Netherlands.
Wilders was not in court for the verdict that came just over three months before national elections. Wilders’ Party for Freedom is currently narrowly leading a nationwide poll of polls and has risen in popularity during the trial.
Before the verdict, Wilders vowed not to let a conviction muzzle him, tweeting: “Whatever the verdict, I will continue to speak the truth about the Moroccan problem, and no judge, politician or terrorist will stop me.”
Source: The Guardian