Prosecution seeks €5,000 fine against far right leader Wilders for inciting hatred
The Public Prosecutor's office (OM) demanded a five thousand euro fine from Geert Wilders, the leader of far right nationalist party PVV. The sentence recommendation was made during the prosecution's closing argument in a court case stemming from Wilders's political rally speech just before the elections in March 2014.
In that televised speech, Wilders addressed his audience asking them if they wanted more Moroccans or fewer Moroccans. The crowd chanted back "fewer, fewer, fewer," to which Wilders replied that he can make that happen.
"There are criminal offenses that affect the core values of our free and democratic society. Namely that everyone has the right to be treated equally and that no one should be discriminated against," the prosecution said in a public statement. "No one should be dismissed as inferior."
While the prosecution noted that politicians are allowed to provoke and shock people, they still have to obey the laws of the land. The OM said Wilders incited hatred and discrimination of a segment of the population, and also was guilty of insulting a group of people days earlier when he told a broadcaster that he wanted "if possible, fewer Moroccans."
The OM argued that the comments to broadcaster NOS were spontaneous, but intentional, and with no attempt to rectify the situation. Nu.nl noted the OM's argument that the political speech that took place a week later was produced in advance and a choice was made to use the words "'fewer Moroccans' and not 'fewer Moroccan criminals,'" as the politician has said was his meaning.
He was found guilty on insulting a group and inciting discrimination for the "fewer Moroccans" rally speech at the end of 2016. That trial determined he was not guilty for insulting a group of people for the spontaneous remarks. No sentence was demanded by the court, even though the prosecutor sought the same five thousand euro fine.
Both sides filed appeals in the case. The appellate court procedure first started nearly two years ago.
Wilders has claimed for years that the case against him is political, and that the court proceedings lack independence.
"Wilders is not a victim of any conspiracy or a nefarious plan. He is a suspect because the Public Prosecution Service has decided to prosecute him independently," the OM said on Wednesday, echoing its stance over several years.
Last week, those who said they were victimized as a result what Wilders said demanded an apology and up to 30 thousand euros in damages.