Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Geert Wilders to be prosecuted for inciting hatred

The Amsterdam court has ruled that the Public Prosecutor’s Office should after all prosecute the right-wing populist politician Geert Wilders for remarks about Muslims and Islam. The court found that there was a case of inciting hatred, discrimination and insulting language to answer. Earlier the Public Prosecutor decided not to proceed against Mr Wilders, which sparked numerous protests from organisations and individuals.

The court regarded Mr Wilders’ remarks as punishable in law in view of both their content and the manner of presentation. The judges characterized the presentation as comprising “one-sided, generalised phrasing characterised by a radical nature, constant repetition and increasing ferocity”. The court further ruled that the prosecution of the PVV party leader would not conflict with the right to freedom of expression.

Mr Wilders said it was “a black day for freedom of speech” and for himself. Although he was confident he would be exonerated, he was afraid the trial might last so long and cost the PVV so much that the future existence of the party would be jeopardised.

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