As most readers know, Geert Wilders, the leader of the Party for Freedom (Partij voor de Vrijheid, PVV) is on trial in the Netherlands, charged with “hate speech” for asking his supporters whether they want more or fewer Moroccans in the country.
Yesterday the Public Prosecutor’s office (Openbaar Ministerie, OM) announced its demand for a penalty to be levied against Mr. Wilders: a €5,000 fine. The trial (in my uninformed opinion) is more rigged than a Chicago election, so the verdict and fine are all but assured.
Our Dutch correspondent H. Numan sends his brief appraisal of the situation:
The government want to muffle any opposition. And that is — assuming a guilty verdict — done.
Freedom of speech after this trial is nonexistent. Anyone who dares will be prosecuted. And convicted. Wilders doesn’t have to worry, personally. But anyone who supports him will.
The following video is the English-language version of Geert Wilders’ public response to the prosecutor’s demanded penalty:
Below is the text of Mr. Wilders’ message:
I just heard the penal sentence demanded by the Public Prosecutor: a penalty of €5,000.
Speaking about one of the biggest problems of our country — the problem with Moroccans — is now punishable according to the elite. And hence we are slowly but surely losing our freedom of speech. Even asking a question is no longer allowed. Even though millions of people agree. And Moroccans have suddenly become a race. So if you say something about Moroccans, you are now a racist. Nobody understands that. It is utter madness. Only meant to shut you and me up.
While in other countries the people send the elite home, here they want to silence an opposition leader. The Netherlands is running the risk of becoming a dictatorship. It looks like Turkey. The differences between The Netherlands and Turkey are getting smaller. The opposition is silenced.
I was elected by nearly a million people. That number will be even higher on March 15th next year. And it is my duty to talk about the problems, even when the politically-correct elite led by Prime Minister Rutte prefers not to mention them. Because looking away and remaining silent is not an option.
I have to say it like it is.
What is the use of political cowards who no longer dare to speak the truth? Who are silent about the problems in our country? Who pander to the government? Who cowardly look the other way?
Nothing at all! Putting one’s head in the sand is cowardice.
And if you must keep quiet about problems, because simply asking a question has become punishable, the problems will only grow bigger. Then, The Netherlands will become a dictatorship of fearful and cowardly politicians.
I will never accept that. I will continue to fight for a free and safe Netherlands. That is why Islamic terrorists have been trying to kill me for 12 years. Today, these terrorists rejoice. Wilders is going to be punished. The Public Prosecutor has made himself their ally today.
But I will not allow anyone to shut me up!
No terrorist will be able to silence me!
No prosecutor in a black gown or cowardly prime minister will get me on my knees!
I shall therefore not care about their penal demand at all. They can do whatever they want. It will only make me stronger. I will only get more motivated.
And you can support me with this.
By continuing to fight with me for the preservation of freedom of expression. For the maintenance of a safe and free Netherlands.