Geert Wilders appeals 2016 discrimination conviction

Lester Mason
May 18, 2018

Dutch right wing politician Geert Wilders objected the court in The Hague after the court on Thursday ruled that the criminal proceedings in the appeal case against the Party for Freedom (PVV) leader will not be postponed. "Good, we're going to arrange that", Wilders concluded.

Some 6,400 people, including many Moroccan immigrants, lodged formal complaints about his comments.

He was found guilty on the 9th of December 2016 and the court ruled indicating that: "partly in view of the inflammatory nature and manner of these statements, others were herby incited to discriminate against persons of Moroccan origin". The polarizing MP was, however, acquitted of hate speech and his sentence did not include prison time or a fine.

Prosecutors are also appealing and judges have allocated 11 days for the hearing.

Geert-Jan Knoops, Wilders' lawyer, argued at the beginning of the proceedings that prosecutors had applied a double standard to Wilders and that they had "selectively applied" to him the standard by which they determine whether speech is discriminatory.

About 40 people - mostly Dutch with Russian roots - complained to the prosecution service after Pechtold told the public broadcaster NOS in February: "I've still yet to meet a Russian who admits his mistakes". A panel of three judges said Wilders's comments were "demeaning and insulting to the Moroccan population".

"I at least expected that I would be given a fair trial".

But Wilders and his lawyer then angrily demanded that they recuse themselves from the case. Wilders reacted by calling the court "biased" and added: "You can not give me the honest proceedings I had hoped for".

"They will never shut me up", said Wilders describing the trial as "judicial jihad".

"We call on the court to recuse itself in its entirety".

Despite the looming court case, Wilders has kept up a steady stream of attacks on Islam as a religion whose "imams preach hatred".

Also on Thursday Wilders announced plans to organise a new "Mohammed" cartoon competition, with €5,000 in prize money, later this year.

He accompanied it with a cartoon of himself, watching an angry man wearing a turban in a cell. He embraces the media's characterization of him as an "anti-Islam politician".

In line with other recent swings to the far-right in Europe, and following the election of US maverick Republican President Donald Trump, the fortunes of his Freedom Party (PPV) have soared.

Wilders put forward a fiery platform in the country's 2017 general elections, vowing to close mosques, ban sales of the Quran and halt the immigration of Muslim refugees.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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