Dutch political leader Geert Wilders has been found guilty of hate speech and inciting racial discrimination for leading a chant calling for fewer, fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands.
Presiding Judge Hendrik Steenhuis said the court would not
impose a sentence because the conviction was punishment enough for a democratically elected lawmaker. Prosecutors had asked judges to fine him 5,000 euros ($5,300).
Wilders, head of the PVV Freedom Party, was not present to hear the judgement but
his lawyer Geert-Jan Knoops immediately issued a statement to say that he would appeal.
The judge claimed that Wilders had breached the boundaries of even a politician's freedom of speech. Wilders said, in a statement:
I still cannot believe it, but I have been convicted because I asked a question about Moroccans. The Netherlands has become a sick country. The judge who convicted me [has] restricted the freedom of speech for millions of Dutch. I
will never be silent. I am not a racist and neither are my voters.
Dutch anti-Islam opposition leader Geert Wilders has gone on trial for inciting hatred and discrimination, 18 months after he led a chant for fewer Moroccans in the country and called them scum during campaigning for local elections.
A verdict is due
in December. The trial raise issues of free speech in the Netherlands particularly as Wilders' comments are supported by strong showings in the opinion polls, suggesting that the party could actually be vying for government in next year's election
In June 2011, The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (just renamed from the Organisation of the Islamic Conference) petitioned the Netherlands to gag Geert Wilders.
The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation strongly
condemned the attacks on Islam and the supposed insult and vilification of Muhammad and his wives by the Dutch right wing politician Geert Wilders.
The 0IC Secretary General said that Wilders has taken upon himself a dangerous path of derailing
inter civilizational harmony and peace by spreading and fanning hatred against Islam and Muslims in his own country as well as in other European countries.
Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu explained that the vilification of Islam and the sacred image of
the Prophet Muhammad by Wilders has reached a stage when it can no longer be tolerated under any pretext including the right to freedom of expression. He urged the Government or Netherlands to take necessary appropriate action to contain the campaign of
hatred and incitement by Wilders who is a coalition partner of the Dutch Government. He expressed serious concern that the silence of the Dutch Government in this respect may undermine the existing good bilateral relations between the 0IC Member States
and the Netherlands.
Last week the Dutch cabinet responded to the demands from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal says:
The Dutch Government will continue to reject any
call to gag a politician. The Netherlands enjoys freedom of expression and attaches great value to it.
The Dutch politician Geert Wilders has been acquitted of all charges of inciting hatred against Muslims.
Judges in a court in Amsterdam delivered their verdict in a broadcast that was carried live on Dutch TV. Both the defence and prosecution had
called for an acquittal.
Wilders had described Islam as fascist , comparing the Koran to Hitler's Mein Kampf. He insisted his remarks were part of a legitimate political debate. Wilders had always insisted his statements were directed at
Islam and not at Muslim believers, something which is legal under Dutch law.
But the unspecified members of minority groups, who had been seeking a symbolic one-euro fine, said they will consider taking their case to the European Court of Human
The Public Prosecution Office has once again requested an acquittal for Geert Wilders on all charges against him. The charges include insulting Muslims as a group, inciting hatred and inciting discrimination on the grounds of religion and race.
The Public Prosecution argues that Wilders' comments may be experienced as insulting by certain groups but they are directed at Islam as a religion and not at Muslims as people. The PPO also argued that many of the comments were made in political debates. Although the office did say his call to ban the Qur'an is on the edge of what is permissible.
The Public Prosecution was reluctant to bring the case against Geert Wilders to trial, but was ordered to by an Amsterdam court.
Geert Wilders will face trial on charges of incited hatred and discriminations against Muslims, after a judge rejected a request to dismiss the case. Wilders was charged with insulting Muslims by comparing Islam to Nazism.
Wilders argues that he
is exercising his freedom of speech when he criticises Islam and had won the right last month to seek a dismissal of the case.
But presiding judge Marcel van Oosten said the case would go ahead. He rejected most of the defence's objections but did
agree with the defence that part of the indictment against Wilders should be dropped.
The judges said that including the quotes describing the Koran as fascist and that it should be banned were going beyond the brief set out by the
Amsterdam appeals court.
Court case against Geert Wilders has no tenable outcome
The trial was brought presuming that it against the law to say anything bad about islam full stop. This was found to be untenable under Dutch Freedom of Expression as one can say bad
things if they can be shown to be true.
Now of course it will be untenable on politically correctness grounds to actually argue in court about whether islam is bad or not.
Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders has been granted the right to challenge the charges against him of inciting hatred.
The ruling was made by a new panel of judges appointed after the initial trial collapsed in October when Wilders complained of
bias against him.
One of the judges told the court that if the objections were successful, the case will be closed .
The charges against him of inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims, Moroccans and other groups date back
to remarks he made in 2006 and 2008. He called Islam fascist and compared the Koran to Hitler's book Mein Kampf.
The prosecution told his initial trial last year that the comments were not criminal.
The first trial eventually fell
apart when a separate panel decided that the judges' decision not to allow expert witnesses to provide evidence that Islam is in fact a violent religion. This decision was found to be biased against Wilders and a retrial was ordered.
The trial of PVV leader Geert Wilders on discrimination and inciting hatred charges will resume on March 14 when his lawyer Bram Moszkowicz
will restate his opening remarks to the Amsterdam court, news agency ANP reports.
The public prosecutor will respond two days later.
The court is expected to decide whether the case should continue or be abandoned on March 30.
The trial of Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders for inciting hatred will resume shortly in Amsterdam with new judges, judicial authorities have said.
Wilders is on trial charged with inciting hatred and discriminating against Muslims. The trial was
suspended when the defendant's lawyer raised objections against the judges. The impartiality of one of the judges was questioned when it turned out he had had a private conversation about the case with a defence witness prior to the trial.
The flamboyant Dutch MP, Geert Wilders, who holds the balance of power in the Netherlands, told judges that he had no regrets over the comments.
Wilders is being prosecuted for describing the Koran as fascist and for comparing it to Adolf
Hitler's book Mein Kampf, a text that is banned in the Netherlands.
In March 2008, he released a film called Fitna , Arabic for Strife, which linked the verses in the Koran to anti-Semitism, terrorist attacks in New York and London and
urged that, like Nazism, Islamic ideology has to be defeated .
Wilders faces five charges of inciting racial hatred between Oct 2006 and Mar 2008. If found guilty, Wilders faces over a year in prison or a £6,600 fine.
Speaking at his
trial yesterday, Wilders said: I am sitting here as a suspect because I have spoken nothing but the truth. I have said what I have said and I will not take one word back.
However, proceedings were suspended for 24 hours, after Wilders
demanded that the court's presiding judge be replaced. If the court rules in favour of the objections, new judges will need to be appointed, delaying proceedings.
After an opening statement by Wilders, Bram Moszkowicz, his lawyer told the court
that the defendant would exercise his right to silence and would not answer questions during the trial.
Wilders also accused the Dutch authorities of putting on trial the 1.5 million voters who backed his anti-immigration Freedom Party (PVV)
during June elections. I am on trial, but on trial with me is the freedom of expression of many Dutch citizens, he said.
It does not matter if you agree with Geert Wilders's film, Fitna , or his politics. He must not be prosecuted for expressing his views.
Wilders's populist and nativist politics are exactly opposed to my own views, and entirely beside the
point. In a constitutional state, with liberal political rights and the rule of law, a man is being prosecuted for causing offence by expressing his views. Wilders's protest that the judgement is an attack of freedom of expression is scarcely
adequate to the infringement on liberty. These proceedings are a monstrous abuse of power. Wilders must be supported.
Dutch prosecutors have
recommended acquitting leading anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders on all five charges of hate speech.
They said his comments had targeted Islam, not Muslims, and he had the right to comment on social issues.
The trial will continue next
week and judges may still disagree with the prosecution and convict Wilders.
The trial of Wilders, who compared the Koran to Hitler's Mein Kampf, has gripped the Netherlands. His Freedom Party's support is crucial to the country's new coalition
Prosecutors had initially declined to press charges against Wilders in June 2008. But they were ordered to do so in January 2009 by the appeals court, which ruled that there was significant evidence that the politician had sought to
sow hatred .
Prosecutors Birgit van Roessel and Paul Velleman reached their conclusions after studying interviews with, and articles by, Wilders as well as his anti-Koran film Fitna . Criticism [of religion] is allowed, Ms van
Roessel told the Amsterdam district court. Velleman told the court that most of the politician's remarks seemed to have targeted Islam as an ideology rather than singling out Muslims for abuse.
Judges in the hate speech trial of Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders have been ordered to step down by an independent appeals panel.
The move follows a request
by Wilders' lawyers who said they feared the judges were biased against him.
The legal process that began in January must now begin again with new judges. The trial itself started in October.
Wilders' lawyer Bram Moszkowicz had argued that
the bench at Amsterdam District Court had created an impression of partiality by putting off a decision on the defence's request to recall a witness. Being denied the opportunity to recall the witness would make it impossible for the defence to
substantiate a crucial part of its case , he added.
A hastily convened panel said on Friday that it found the trial judges' decision to be incomprehensible in the absence of any motivation . They said that Wilders' fear of bias as a
result was understandable .
Under the circumstances, the request [for the judges' removal] is granted, said a statement from the panel. Another chamber will handle the rest of the case.
The Lost Cause Against Wilders
28th October 2010. From online.wsj.com
The case against the Dutch politician has backfired in every way imaginable.
When even the prosecution calls for a defendant's acquittal and the trial judges have been disqualified for the appearance of bias, maybe it's time to drop the charges.
Rather than a retrial, a dismissal would be the best outcome in the case of Geert Wilders, the Dutch lawmaker accused of insulting and inciting hatred against Muslims.
Dutch political party leader Geert Wilders is set to stand trial in October on charges of inciting racial hatred against Muslims, the Amsterdam district court has announced.
The trial of Mr Wilders will start in October, the court said in a
statement. According to a preliminary schedule, the case is to be heard on October 4, 6 and 8, followed by judgment on November 2, it said.
The lawmaker is accused of five counts of religious insult and anti-Muslim incitement. Wilder faces up to
one year in jail if convicted.
His 17-minute film, Fitna , was called offensively anti-Islamic by UN chief Ban Ki-moon after its screening in The Netherlands in 2008 prompted protests in much of the Muslim world. Prosecutors
initially declined to charge Wilders, citing freedom of speech in dismissing dozens of complaints from around the country. But an appeals court last January ordered prosecutors to put the MP on trial, saying politicians could not make statements which
create hate and grief .
Geert Wilders, the Dutch far-right politician, has won his appeal against the Government's refusal to let him enter Britain.
Wilders challenged the decision by then home secretary Jacqui Smith which led to him being turned back at Heathrow
The ruling by the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal means the head of the Freedom Party, who is accused of Islamophobia, could now be allowed into the country.
He was due to show his short film Fitna , which criticises the Koran
as a fascist book , at the House of Lords in February. But Smith said his presence had the potential to threaten community harmony and therefore public safety .
A Home Office spokesman said the Government was disappointed by the ruling:
The decision to refuse Wilders admission was taken on the basis that his presence could have inflamed tensions between our communities and have led to inter-faith violence. We still maintain this view.'
Good news from Holland, where the prosecution department has decided to dismiss the cases against the TV show NOVA, and politician Geert Wilders. Both had reproduced the Mohammed cartoons on their websites.
In a statement (Google translation),
the prosecutor said: The cartoons are about the prophet Mohammed, not about Muslims as a group. None of the cartoons are offensive to Muslims or incite hatred, discrimination or violence against Muslims. Because the cartoons are not illegal,
publishing and distributing them is also not illegal.
Geert Wilders will definitely be prosecuted charged with inciting hatred against Muslims and Islam, news agency ANP writes.
A request by Wilders’ lawyer Bram Moscowicz to have the decision to prosecute quashed has been rejected by the Dutch
Amsterdam appeal court said in January Wilders should stand trial for hate speech and discrimination. The public prosecution department had said earlier there were not sufficient grounds to prosecute the MP.
Wilders said he
expected a political trial . I am being prosecuted for something millions of Dutch people are thinking... Freedom of speech is being sacrificed on the altar of islam. But I am ready to fight back with my head held high’.
The Dutch MP Geert Wilders is planning a follow-up of his provocative anti-Koran film, Fitna . The outspoken leader of the opposition Freedom Party, who has labelled the Koran fascist , says the new film will deal with the growing
Islamisation of Western countries.
Wilders told the newspaper De Telegraaf that the film would tackle freedom of speech and Sharia: And I will offer solutions.
The National Counter-Terrorism Coordination Services said that they had
taken note of the new announcement and would monitor the security situation.
Dutch MP Geert Wilders has launched an appeal against the Home Office's decision to ban him from travelling to the UK.
Wilders was scheduled to screen his controversial film, Fitna, in the House of Lords when he was refused entry into the country
last month. The home secretary, Jacqui Smith, refused to allow him into the country on grounds of public security.
In a decision which could have positive consequences for Geert Wilders' upcoming prosecution , a supporter of the Dutch extreme right National Alliance has had his conviction for insulting Islam overturned by the High Court.
The man had
displayed a poster in his window after the murder of Dutch film maker Theo Van Gogh. It read: Stop the tumour that is Islam. Theo has died for us. Who will be next? Resist now! National Alliance, we will not bow down to Allah. Join now.
Originally given a suspended sentence, he was acquitted by the High Court. The judged concluded that it was not an offence to express insults towards religion. Not even if that happens in such a way that the devotees feel their religious feelings are hurt.
Britain's controversial ban on the anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders has helped push his Freedom Party into the lead for the first time, according to Dutch opinion polls.
Geert Wilders began to see a rise in his popularity after an Amsterdam appeals
court decided to try him for anti-Muslim comments in January.
New opinion polling now puts Mr Wilders ahead of the Christian Democrats, who lead a coalition government.
How happy I am about this. These are of course just polls, but it
is an enormous sign of confidence from the Dutch voter, said Wilders: As far as I am concerned, elections can be held tomorrow, then I will be the next premier.
Polling by Maurice de Hond has predicted that the Freedom Party or PVV
would take 18% of the vote to win 27 seats in the 150-seat Dutch parliament. This would put Wilders in the position of being a power broker and prime minister in a traditionally complicated Dutch multi-party coalition.
Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders has called for an International First Amendment that would repeal all hate speech laws.
During a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., Wilders discussed the recent attacks and prosecution he
is facing for speaking against Islam and for showing his film.
He also joined the International Free Press Society in announcing a global initiative to protect free speech from laws that criminalize hate speech, whether they are criticisms of
Islam or the doctrines of Shariah.
Lars Hedegaard, president of the International Free Press Society, said in a statement that hate speech and blasphemy laws in many European countries lack clarity as to precisely what they aim to criminalize
and are usually unequally applied.
The way to deal with controversial, offensive or even hateful statements — unless they are directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action — is to expose them to public debate and
criticism, he stated.
The press conference included a screening of Fitna . Wilders toured the United States this past week, with stops in New York, Boston, New York City and Washington, to rally support for the campaign to protect free
speech worldwide. He also screened his film to the U.S. Senate.
Fitna was shown in Rome and Wilders was present proving that Italy is a much more free society than Great Britain which constrains and cajoles in the name of the intolerant New Labour creed that tolerates no dissent from its worldview.
in Rome took place in an environment of massive security with the Italian army and the Caribinari securing the immediate vicinity of the conference.
I read in Private Eye, just hours after watching Lord Ahmed sounding off about Wilders, that a Lord Ahmed is awaiting sentence for dangerous driving, having killed a
bloke while simultaneously driving and texting.
Bit worse than being rude about some bloke who's been dead 1500 years, I think.
Update: Labour Ahmed was sentenced to 12 weeks jail for dangerous driving.
In the past, Lord Ahmed has shown himself to be a selective friend of free speech, hosting a book launch at the House of Lords in 2005 for
a notorious anti-Semite who calls himself Israel Shamir. Last month, a Pakistani press agency reported that a screening of Mr Wilders' short film Fitna at the House of Lords had been called off after Lord Ahmed and representatives of the MCB met
government leaders. When Lord Ahmed discovered that the screening was to go ahead, he said he had received threats and asked the Government not to allow Mr Wilders into the country.
Jacqui Smith deemed it necessary to ban Geert Wilders from addressing the House of Lords, he has posted his prepared speech on his website
Thank you for inviting me. Thank you Lord Pearson and Lady Cox for showing Fitna, and
for your gracious invitation. While others look away, you, seem to understand the true tradition of your country, and a flag that still stands for freedom.
Thank you very much for letting me into the country. I received a letter from
the Secretary of State for the Home Department, kindly disinviting me. I would threaten community relations, and therefore public security in the UK, the letter stated. For a moment I feared that I would be refused entrance. But I was confident the
British government would never sacrifice free speech because of fear of Islam. Britannia rules the waves, and Islam will never rule Britain, so I was confident the Border Agency would let me through. And after all, you have invited stranger creatures
By letting me speak today you show that Mr Churchill's spirit is still very much alive. And you prove that the European Union truly is working; the free movement of persons is still one of the
pillars of the European project.
Ladies and gentlemen, the dearest of our many freedoms is under attack. In Europe, freedom of speech is no longer a given. What we once considered a natural component of our existence is now something
we again have to fight for. That is what is at stake. Whether or not I end up in jail is not the most pressing issue. The question is: Will free speech be put behind bars?
The film by a Dutch MP who was refused entry to the UK over fears he would incite hatred with his message about Islam, was shown twice at Westminster last night.
The first screening of Geert Wilders Fitna was in the House of Lords and attended by
about 30 people. No MPs and only five peers attended, although organisers blamed poor attendance on the fact parliament rose for a week's recess earlier this afternoon.
A second screening, which Wilders had been planning to attend, was held later
in the evening, for the press, including journalists from the Netherlands. The 17-minute production quotes five Suras, or verses, from the Koran which apparently support violence against non-Muslims.
Wilders, a member of Holland's Freedom Party,
had wanted to show the film to British MPs, but on Tuesday received a letter from the government warning he was not welcome because his views would threaten community security and public security in the UK. The 45-year-old tried to defy the ban,
but was turned back at Heathrow after three hours.
Crossbench peer Baroness Cox, hosting the screening for the press near to the Houses of Parliament, said she did not agree with everything the film suggested, but that Mr Wilders had a right to
Muslim groups were divided on whether to bar Wilders.
Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, backed the government's decision to keep Wilders out of Britain, accusing Wilders of inciting religious hatred:
Mr Wilders film is all about demonising and attacking Islam and Muslims .
But the Quilliam Foundation, a Muslim think tank devoted to fighting extremism, said he should have been allowed into the country so that his views could be
challenged through debate and argument.
The Muslim Council of Britain said in a statement : We have no problem with the
challenge of criticisms to our faith ...BUT... the film that will be screened tomorrow by Lord Pearson and Baroness Cox is nothing less than a cheap and tacky attempt to whip up hysteria against Muslims.
They went further and called for
Lords hosting the event to be sacked: Mr Wilders' xenophobic and repugnant views have been identified by a Dutch court, and are now confirmed by his official exclusion to the United Kingdom. It is now time to ask why Peers of Realm who promote such
demagogues without any censure are allowed to be regarded as mainstream, responsible leaders in our community.
Geert Wilders has been refused entry to the United Kingdom to broadcast his controversial anti-Muslim film Fitna in the House of Lords.
Wilders said he had been told that in the interests of public order he will not be allowed to come
He responded to the decision in fighting mood, telling reporters that he still intended to travel to London.
He said: I shall probably go to Britain anyway on Thursday. Let us see if they put me in chains on arrival. It is
an unbelievable decision made by a group of cowards.
The film features verses from the Koran alongside images of the terrorist attacks in the US on 11 September 2001, Madrid in March 2004 and London in July 2005. The film equates Islam's holy
text with violence and ends with a call to Muslims to remove hate-preaching' verses from the Koran.
Last night, Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said he had called British foreign secretary David Miliband to protest against the
He said: It is disgraceful that a Dutch parliamentarian should be refused entrance to an EU country.
A spokesman for the Lords said that the invitation to show his film remained open.
Home Office sources confirmed Mr
Wilders had been refused entry to the UK.
A Home Office spokesman told The Daily Telegraph: The Government opposes extremism in all its forms. It will stop those who want to spread extremism, hatred and violent messages in our communities from
coming to our country. That was the driving force behind tighter rules on exclusions for unacceptable behaviour that the Home Secretary announced on in October last year.
Meanwhile Wilders has asked the Dutch Supreme Court to halt his prosecution on
hate speech charges for anti-Islamic remarks.
Geert Wilders says the remarks — including labeling the Quran a fascist work and calling for it to be banned — fall within the realm of normal discourse and his prosecution threatens his right
to freedom of speech.
APP reports that a scheduled screening of Geert Wilders’ film Fitna in the House of Lords has been cancelled. It was due to be shown on Jan 29th.
The decision was taken after a meeting between Lord Nazir Ahmed, Government Chief
Whip of the House of Lords and Leader of the House of Lords, and representatives from the Muslim Council of Britain, the British Muslim Forum and others.
Protests and demonstrations have been cancelled,
Lord Ahmed called the decision a
victory for the Muslim community
The Far-right Dutch politician who produced a film, Fitna , claiming links between the Koran and terrorism is to be put on trial for his public statements against Islam.
Geert Wilders, the leader of the Freedom Party (PVV), said
he was surprised that the Amsterdam Appeals Court is to allow his criminal prosecution for inciting hatred and of discriminating against Muslims by comparing their religion to Nazism.
Mr Wilders' views constitute a criminal offence. [He] has
insulted Islamic worshippers by attacking the symbols of the Islamic faith, the court stated, referring to his comparison of the Koran to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf .
Wilders said he was stunned by the judgment: This
was the last thing I expected. The fact that I can no longer speak openly but have to go before the court makes this a very black day, not just for me but for freedom of expression in this country . What I do is to express my opinion on behalf of
half a million people who voted for me and who think it should be possible to criticise Islam. We are fed up with the 'Islamisation' of the Netherlands.
The decision by the Amsterdam Appeals Court, the second-highest legal authority in the
country, overturns an earlier ruling by the Dutch Prosecution Service, which last June dismissed hundreds of complaints against Wilders on the grounds that his utterances had been made in the context of public debate , a position that was endorsed
by the Dutch Prime Minister, Jan Peter Balkenende, a Christian Democrat.
The UK's House of Lords will show Geert Willders' controversial Islam film Fitna . So says Wilders following the European Parliament's refusal to show the short film.
The European Parliament rejected a request by the UK MEP Gerard
Batten of the anti-European Independent Party to allow Fitna to be shown in Strasbourg to MEPs and journalists. Wilders called the ban "censorship" and compared the European Parliament to Saudi Arabia.
Wilders has recently shown
Fitna at meetings in Jerusalem and New York. He said the film will also be on view in the House of Lords in January.
Christian democratic MEP Maria Martens was pleased by the decision not to show Fitna in the EP. The film has nothing to
do with freedom of expression. This freedom does not give the right to offend.
Conservative MEP Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert on the other hand called the banning of Fitna unbelievably stupid because the film does fall within the
boundaries of the law and Wilders has now got more publicity and attention than if he had been able to show his film.