Court decides today if Wilders hate speech trial continues
Today the court in The Hague will rule on whether or not to continue prosecuting PVV leader Geert Wilders for hate speech, NOS reports.
The PVV leader is in court because of statements he made about wanting "fewer Moroccans" in The Hague. While campaigning for the elections in 2014, he asked his followers whether they "want more or fewer Moroccans in your city and in the Netherlands". A whole cafe of people answered by chanting "fewer, fewer, fewer".
Wilders leader is officially charged with four “variants” of two hate speech offenses. Wilders is facing charges of firstly deliberately insulting a group of people because of their race. Secondly, inciting hatred or discrimination against these people. The Prosecutor is accusing Wilders with four variants of each of these offenses – complicity, commit, incitement and “doing it complicity”.
A total of 56 people and 5 organizations reported as victims. They are demanding compensation and rectification of the statements.
Three weeks ago Wilders' lawyer Geert-Jan Knoop argued why the lawsuit should be dropped immediately. According to him, a verdict about Wilders' statements would be a judgement on the PVV's party program and political decision making. These sensitive issues should "be judged in public or through the ballot box", he said. And the court should not interfere in such matters, according to the lawyer.
Wilders also believes that his statements should not be punished. According to him, his "fewer, fewer" statements are a demographic desire. "Is that not allowed?" he said in court. He also called it "a travesty" that he is being prosecuted.
If the court decides to continue with the trial today, it will start on October 31st. The trial is expected to take a total of three weeks.