Austria nears decision to also prosecute Wilders for hate speech
Austria expects to soon make a decision on whether or not PVV leader Geert Wilders will be prosecuted for hate speech because of statements he made in a speech in Hofburg on March 27th last year, AD reports. Wilders was the guest of honor at a gathering of sister party FPO. In his speech, he called for the Koran to be banned, said that Islam declared war on Europe and that Islam turns men into terrorists. Austrian Muslim organization IMO pressed charges against Wilders. "I realized immediately that I had to do something", Tarafa Baghjati, leader of the IMO, said to the newspaper. "Wilders called Islam an ideology of war that incites violence. Wilders gave the impression that all Muslims are here to wage war against Europeans. It made me think of all the Nazi rhetoric of the 30's. I decided to report it right away." That led to a judicial investigation by the Public Prosecutor in Vienna, which is now nearing its end. According to the newspaper, there's a good chance that Wilders will be prosecuted in Vienna. "Due to the war past, these cases are more sensitive in Austria than with us. The legislation is stricter: one speaks of "Verhetzung". That looks like incitement, but the definition is broader than in Dutch law. ", law professor Anton van Kalmthout explained. "It would surprise me if Wilders is not prosecuted, because Austrian politicians have been punished for less. I do not expect Wilders to end up in jail, but a suspended prison sentence is, I think, quite possible." If Wilders is prosecuted, then he may well have to appear in two courts on hate speech charges in a short time. The hate speech trial for his statements about "fewer Moroccans" in a cafe in The Hague in 2014, is set to begin on October 31st.