Wilders won't attend trial "against freedom of speech"

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PVV leader Geert Wilders will not be attending the hate speech trial against him for statements he made about "fewer Moroccans" in the Netherlands in 2014. In an open letter in Dutch newspaper AD, he called the trial a "process against freedom of speech". "I refuse to cooperate with that." he wrote.

The trial is scheduled to start on Monday. Wilders is facing various forms of two hate speech offense charges. The lawsuits revolves around statements Wilders made during campaign visits to The Hague in March 2014. On March 12th of that year the PVV leader paid a visit to Loosduinen and said that The Hague should be “a city with fewer burdens and if possible fewer Moroccans”. And then on the eve of the municipal elections, Wilders asked a cafe full of people whether they wanted more or fewer Moroccans, to which they chanted “fewer, fewer, fewer”

In the letter in AD, Wilders also calls this trial a "political process". "I hold political discussions in the place where political debate belongs: in our parliament. And not in court", Wilders wrote. He calls it his political right and duty to speak about the problems in the Netherlands, including the "mega-Moroccan problem."

Wilders also states in the letter that he does not see that he did anthing wrong, because million sof Dutch people agree with his "fewer Moroccan" statemetns. "If speaking about it is punsihable, then the Nehterlands is no longer a free country. But a dictatorship."

According to the Volkskrant, Wilders decision not to go to trial is remarkable, as he attended every hearing in the previous trial against him. The court can still order him to come, if there are questions Wilders hasn't answered yet.