Apology, damage payment sought in Geert Wilders hate speech trial

On the second day of the appeal in the hate-speech trial against PVV leader Geert Wilders on Thursday, claimants could demand compensation from the politician and explain why they think they deserve it. Demands ranged from apologies to actual monetary amounts between a symbolic 1 euro to over 30 thousand euros, NU.nl reports.

Wilders is on trial for statements he made about Moroccans while campaigning in The Hague on 2014. He asked a cafe full of people whether they want "more or fewer Moroccans in this city and the Netherlands". The audience responded by chanting "fewer, fewer, fewer". And Wilders said: "Well, the we will arrange that." He also said that The Hague should be a city with fewer problems and, if possible, fewer Moroccans.

Some of the claimants told the court that Wilders' statements frightened them. Some said they were anxious that they would be deported from the Netherlands. One said that Wilders' statements made him feel forced to leave the Netherlands, and he demanded compensation for the costs involved. 

Wilders himself was not present at the hearing on Thursday. According to his lawyer, the PVV leader could not attend due to work in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament. But on Twitter Wilders said that he was not particularly interested in the "nonsense" of the claimants.

On December 9th, 2016, Wilders was found guilty of insulting a group of people and inciting discrimination. "Partly in view of the inflammatory nature and manner of these statements, others were hereby incited to discriminate against persons of Moroccan origin", the court ruled. The court did not give him any form of punishment, saying that the verdict is punishment enough. The Public Prosecutor demanded a 5 thousand euro fine. Both Wilders and the Prosecutor appealed.