The public prosecutor’s office (Openbaar Ministerie, OM) has decided to bring a case against Geert Wilders, the leader of the Party for Freedom (Partij voor de Vrijheid, PVV) in the Netherlands.
The PVV released the following statement this morning in reaction to the OM’s decision:
Wilders: Decision to prosecute me is incomprehensible
Wilders: “I have said what millions of people think and find. For the second time, one apparently wants to deal with someone who speaks the truth. It is a travesty that I have to defend myself in court for this. The Public Prosecutor would do better to devote his time to prosecuting jihadis instead of me. The Party for Freedom is the largest party in the polls. Apparently the elite does not like that.”
According to an article this morning in Fox News:
Firebrand Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders to be prosecuted for ‘fewer Moroccans’ chant
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Dutch authorities say they will prosecute lawmaker Geert Wilders for hate speech over a chant in which he asked his supporters whether they wanted more or fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands and they shouted back “Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!”
The announcement Thursday marks the second time Wilders has faced charges linked to his anti-immigrant and anti-Islam rhetoric. He was acquitted of similar charges in 2011 for comparing Islam with Nazism and calling for a ban on the Quran.
In a written statement, Wilders says he “said what millions of people think and believe.”
Prosecutors say they received more than 6,400 complaints about Wilders after his comments in March this year.
Wilders says authorities “should concentrate on prosecuting jihadis instead of me.”
And from Deutsche Welle:
Dutch far right politician Wilders to be tried for anti-Moroccan comments
Lawmaker Geert Wilders is to face prosecution for inciting racial hatred after a speech calling for “fewer Moroccans” in the Netherlands. Wilders has said he stands by his comments.
The public prosecutor in The Hague will begin legal proceedings against the far-right politician Geert Wilders “on charges of insulting a group of people based on race and incitement to discrimination and hatred,” prosecutors announced Thursday. No date has yet been set for the trial.
The charges are based on remarks made by Wilders on March 19 at a rally during local elections.
He asked his followers whether they wanted “fewer or more Moroccans in your city and in the Netherlands?”
To shouts of “Fewer! Fewer!” from the crowd, Wilders told them “We’ll take care of that.”
The incident led to 6,400 legal complaints being lodged against Wilders. Criticism was even voiced within his own Party for Freedom (PVV), which is leading opinion polls in the Netherlands and is currently the country’s fourth largest political party.
“Politicians may go far in their statements, that’s part of freedom of expression, but this freedom is limited by the prohibition of discrimination,” a prosecution statement said.
In a statement to the charges earlier this month, Wilders said that he did not retract any of his comments. “In my fight for freedom and against the Islamicisation of the Netherlands, I will never let anyone silence me. No matter the cost, no matter by whom, whatever the consequences may be,” he said.
Wilder’s anti-Islam rhetoric has got him into trouble before. In the past, the politician has compared the Koran to Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and described Islam as a fascist religion.
Prosecutors lost a similar case against Wilders in 2011, when he was acquitted on hate-speech charges. The court ruled that he had targeted a religion, which is permitted under Dutch freedom of speech laws, rather than a specific ethnic group.
Hat tip: Fjordman.