Prosecutor: Wilders hate speech trial about freedom of speech and protection against discrimination

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No image availableNL Times

Public Prosecutor Wouter Bos believes that the hate speech trial against Geert Wilders revolves around two fundemental values in Dutch society: freedom of expression and protection against discrimination, he said in court on Wednesday, reports.

There is tension between those two fundemental writes, Bos acknowledged. He quoted a statement made in a recording of a discrimination article in the Criminal Code in 1934. According to him, it states that "the Netehrlands has a too clean reputation for tolerance for it to be destroyed by agitators". He also pointed to the massive social upheaval Wilders' "fewer Moroccans" statements had - it resulted in 6,474 charges being pressed.

Wilders is facing various counts of hate-speech and inciting hatred and discrimination charges because of statements he made during a rally in The Hague in 2014. At one point he said that The Hague should be a city with fewer problems "and if possible fewer Moroccans". A few days later he asked a cafe full of people whether they want more or fewer Moroccans in the country, they responded by chanting "fewer, fewer, fewer".

Bos also said that possible martyrdom or exploitation of rolemodel function are no reasons not to prosecute the PVV leader. According to him, it is not up to the Prosecutor to decide whether this trial gives Wilders a podium to speak from. He added that his decision to prosecute Wilders was made with conviction. The Public Prosecutor is bound by the law and has as drive the active protection against discrimination, he said. "There is no space for personal beliefs", he said. 

The Prosecutor's indictment consists of 190 pages, which will take a day and a half to go through, is the expectation. Bos apologized for the length of his argument before starting, but added that "this calls for legal precision".

Fellow Prosecutor Sabina van der Kallen will discuss international conventions on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the Dutch Law later on Wednesday. According to her, boundries are set on freedom of expression, as well as frameworks within which this freedom must be respected.

The Public Prosecutor is expected to formulate his sentence demand on Thursday, according to the newspaper. 



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