Dutch MP on trial for hate speech

2010-10-04 13:31

Amsterdam – Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders is going on trial on Monday for alleged hate speech, even as his popularity and influence in the Netherlands are near all time highs.

Prosecutors said Wilders incited hatred against Muslims with remarks comparing Islam to Nazism and by calling for a ban on the Qu'ran. Wilders argued that he has a right to freedom of speech and that his remarks were within the bounds of the law.

If convicted, he faces up to a year in prison. He could keep his seat in parliament.

Wilders' Freedom Party booked the largest gains in national elections in June, and it has agreed to support a new all-conservative government forming this month. In return, his political allies have promised to carry out much of his anti-immigration agenda.