Wilders wants hate speech acquittal based on letter from cop, recent riots
During the last day of hearings in the appeal of the hate speech trial against PVV leader Geert Wilders, the politician called for the case against him to be dropped, or that he at least be acquitted. According to Wilders, a letter a former cop sent to the media showed that the police investigation against him was steered. And recent riots in places like Utrecht and The Hague showed that he was not wrong in asking a group of his followers whether they want fewer Moroccans in 2014, AD reports.
A former police officer wrote to newspaper AD last month, saying that as a cop she had to record many reports filed against Wilders by people who "hardly or not at all" spoke the Dutch language. "Most of them were just able to say 'Wilders report'. Those reports were definitely staged," the newspaper quoted the letter.
According to Wilders, this letter is yet more proof that he did not receive a fair trial and that the police investigation against him was steered. "It has been orchestrated. We and you as judges have been deceived," Wilders said. The Public Prosecution Service has forfeited the right to prosecute him due to this police action and the case against him should be dropped, Wilders said.
If the court decides not to drop the case, then Wilders should be acquitted, he said, referring to riots in various cities in recent weeks. "Look at what happened in our country in The Hague, in Utrecht in recent weeks. Our neighborhoods were on fire, the police were pelted. It was not only Moroccans who did that, but the majority," he said. "They might get away with that, while I have been on trial for years for asking a question."
Wilders is on trial for statements he made about Moroccans while campaigning in The Hague in 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, then we will arrange that." He also said that The Hague should be a city with fewer problems and, if possible, fewer Moroccans.
In December 2016, Wilders was found guilty of insulting a group of people and inciting discrimination, though the court imposed no 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.
The court will rule on September 4.