Court Upholds Hate Speech Charges Against Dutch Far-Right MP

Geert Wilders
The three-week trial was triggered when police received 6,400 complaints about remarks Wilders made during a municipal election campaign in The Hague.

A court has upheld hate speech charges against Dutch far-right MP Geert Wilders over comments he made about Moroccans.

The leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV) sparked outrage when he asked supporters at a rally in 2014 whether they wanted “fewer or more rMooccans in your city and in the Netherlands?”

After the crowd shouted back “fewer” Mr Wilders said: “We’re going to organise that”.

The comments triggered more than 6,400 complaints and criticism from within Mr Wilders’ party. Five organisations and 56 people have registered as victims of the remarks, judges said.

At an earlier hearing, Geert-Jan Knoops, defending Mr Wilders, told judges that freedom of expression is “the last freedom Mr Wilders has left”.  But the court said that although politicians are entitled to freedom of expression they should “avoid public statements that feed intolerance”.

Mr Wilders’ lawyers slammed the trial as a “political case” ahead of parliamentary elections in March.

They argued that the MP had merely “put forward his party’s political programme” and claimed the case could have “far reaching political consequences for democracy”.

 

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