Supreme Court upholds Wilders guilty verdict in hate speech trial
The Supreme Court of the Netherlands upheld a guilty verdict against PVV leader Geert Wilders on Tuesday for inciting hatred and violence against a group of people. The verdict brings the case against the leader of the right wing nationalist political party to a close after seven years in the Dutch judicial system.
"Group insult is prohibited under the Criminal Code," said the chair of the court in its ruling, according to NOS. "Even a politician must adhere to the basic principles of the rule of law and must not incite intolerance."
This case revolves around statements the PVV leader made about Moroccans while campaigning in The Hague in March 2014. Wilders 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."
“Unnecessarily damaging,” the court said of his statements, according to the Telegraaf. "Even if it was done in the context of the political debate."
Also in March 2014, Wilders said that The Hague should be a city with fewer problems and, if possible, fewer Moroccans. He was previously acquitted for crimes related to the latter.
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, which was not issued. Both Wilders and the Prosecutor appealed.
Last September, the Court of Appeals upheld the previous ruing, finding Wilders guilty but imposing no punishment.
For years, Wilders has referred to the case against him with scorn, and considered it to be a political witch hunt orchestrated by the top of the Ministry of Justice and Security. The courts have repeatedly struck down his claim that the trial was politically motivated for a lack of evidence.
No appeal is possible in the Netherlands against the Supreme Court ruling. The only possible step to take this case further is submitting it the the European Court of Human Rights, where citizens can file a complaint if they believe a State violated their human rights.