Thursday, 23 June 2011

Dutch Politician Cleared Over Hate Speech
A Dutch court has acquitted anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders of hate speech and discrimination charges.

Geert Wilders says he is "incredibly happy" after being cleared of all charges
The far-right MP was facing five counts of inciting hatred among Muslims following his controversial statements attacking Islam, which he compared to Nazism.

But the court ruled that his comments, while offensive to many Muslims, fell within the bounds of legitimate political debate and cleared him of all charges.

Presiding judge Marcel van Oosten said Wilders' public claims must be seen in a wider context of debate over immigration policy.

It's not only an acquittal for me, but a victory for freedom of expression in the Netherlands.

Outside the courtroom, Mr Wilders said he was "incredibly happy" with the acquittal.
"It's not only an acquittal for me, but a victory for freedom of expression in the Netherlands," he said.

"Fortunately you're allowed to discuss Islam in public debate and you're not muzzled in public debate. An enormous burden has fallen from my shoulders."

Mr Wilders is widely known for his anti-Muslim message, which he called for a halt to Muslim immigration and to ban the Islamic faith's holy book, the Quran.

Wilders appearing in court in Amsterdam earlier this year
Soon after he made the comments he had to be put under police protection following a number of death threats.

Throughout the trial he has never shown any remorse for his words.

Before proceedings got under way last year, he gave a short statement: "I have said what I have said and I will not take one word back."

He argued that his statements represent the views of millions of Dutch voters, that they are protected by freedom of speech law, and that the court is biased against him, while the charges are politically motivated.

The trial was adjourned last year after Mr Wilders accused the judges of bias.

Source

2 comments:

Johnny Rottenborough said...

Now that Mr Wilders is free (to the extent that he ever can be free) perhaps the British branch of his Party for Freedom will become a reality.

Cheradenine Zakalwe said...

I'll be signing up for it as soon as it does.

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