Court to answer Wilders' demands in hate speech trial

Geert Wilders
Geert Wilders

A second pre-trial hearing in the hate speech trial against PVV leader Geert Wilders is scheduled for Thursday. During the hearing the court is will decide on a number of requests the PVV leader made, RTL Nieuws reports.

The PVV leader is facing charges of deliberately insulting a group of people because of their race and inciting hatred or discrimination against these people. This is because of statements he made dring an election campaign in The Hague in 2014 – he asked a cafe full of his supporters whether they want more or fewer Moroccans in the city, to which they chanted “fewer, fewer, fewer”.

On Thursday the court will decide on three main requests. The first being a request to question a number of people as expert witnesses. This includes pollster Maurice de Hond, the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism Dick Schoof, law psychologist Peter van Koppen, professor of integration Jaco Dagevos, American expert Amos Guiora and another anonymous witness.

The judge will also decide whether the trial will be suspended following the leak of a legal brief written by Wilders' lawyer Geert-Jan Knoops. Knoops demanded a delay and threatened newspaper AD, who first published the brief, with a lawsuit. Wilders also asked the court to investigate the leak.

Finally the court will consider Wilders' demand that one of the judges handling his trial resigns. He claims that the judge, Elianne van Rens, criticized him in the past and is therefore biased.

It is not clear whether Wilders will be present in court for today's pre-trial hearing. The hearing is set to start at 10:00 a.m. At 10:15 a.m. the parliamentary debate with Minister Ard van der Steur of Security and Justice on the Brussels bombings starts. It seems unlikely that Wilders will sit out on the debate to attend the pre-trial hearing.