Expert: Wilders' fewer Moroccans statements a "proposal for immigration restriction"
PVV leader Geert Wilders' statements calling for "fewer Moroccans" while campaigning in The Hague in 2014, were not incitement to discrimination, but a "proposal for immigration restriction", Pau Cliteur said as expert witness for the defense in court on Wednesday, NOS reports.
Cliteur, a jurist, philosopher, columnist and writer, made no secret about the fact that he is opposed to Wilders being prosecuted for his statements. He feels its nonsense that politicians have greater responsibility for their words than ordinary citizens. According to him, politicians should in fact have greater freedom of expression.
According to Cilteur, the crininal case against Wilders is a political process. Not in the sense that the verdict was made in advance or that the judges are biased, but in the sense that the judgement in this case wil hav major impact on the political development in the Netherlands and abroad, he said in court.
Cilteur called it undesirable that a court rules on a political issue, which should rather be discussed in parliament. This trial can also damage the reputation of the court, he said. Cilteur believes that the judiciary should be the first ones to scramble to protect freedom of expression. The government should also defend Wilders' right to free expression, he believes.
Wilders himself is not attending the trial, also calling it a "political process". He is facing various forms of hate speech charges over statements he made in The Hague during an election campaign on March 12th and 19th, 2014.
In an interview he gave on the market he said: "Most important is surely the people here on the market (...) We are doing it for these people. They vote for a safer and more social and at least a city with fewer burdens and if possoible some fewer Moroccans."
Then a few days later, in a PVV meeting at a cafe in the city, Wilders said: "I ask you, do you want in this city and in the Netherlands more or fewer Moroccans?" The crowd in the cafe responded by chanting "fewer, fewer, fewer" and Wilders said: "Then we will arrange it."
A total of 6,474 people pressed charges against Wilders following these statements.