Prosecutor to investigate Wilders' 2015 speech in Austria
At the request of Austria, the Public Prosecutor in The Hague is launching an investigation into statements made by PVV leader Geert Wilders in Vienna in 2015, AD reports. During a speech Wilders called Islam "an ideology of war and hatred" and said that "Islam calls people to be terrorists".
In his speech Wilders also compared the Quran to Adolf Hitler's book Mein Kampf and called for it to be banned.
Austrian Muslim organization IMO pressed charges against the PVV leader. After a thorough investigation, the prosecutor in Vienna decided to transfer the case to the Netherlands for practical reasons.
The Public Prosecutor in The Hague confirmed to NU.nl that a request for legal aid was received from Austria and they are "busy studying it". A request for legal aid is submitted if an investigation raises questions that can only be answered in another country. Such a request can be for information, for witnesses to be questioned, for surveillance on a suspect or for a suspect to be arrested.
Wilders called the investigation incomprehensible in a response on Twitter. "Let them catch robbers and terrorists instead of persecuting a politician for telling the truth about Islam. #legaljihad", he tweeted.
Austrian legislation is stricter than Dutch legislation in the field of incitement In 2015 a Pegida member was sentenced to a conditionally suspended prison sentence of four months for saying that "every Muslim is a potential terrorist", according to NU.nl.
Last year Wilders was convicted for statements he made about Moroccans during an election speech in March 2014. He said that The Hague should be a city with "fewer burdens and if possible also fewer Moroccans". He also asked a room full of his supporters if they want more or fewer Moroccans, to which they chanted "fewer, fewer, fewer". The court found Wilders guilty of group insult and inciting discrimination, but imposed no punishment. Both Wilders and the Public Prosecutor appealed.