Dutch anti-Islam MP claims persecution

2011-02-07 18:45

The Hague - Dutch anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders claimed on Monday he was being persecuted for his views, asking an Amsterdam court to protect free speech and disallow his hate speech trial.

"Citizens who criticise Islam pay a bitter price. They are threatened, persecuted, criminalised," the politician told a panel of judges at a hearing to plan the modalities of his new trial.

"Who speaks the truth is in danger," said the MP who calls Islam "fascist", has likened the Koran to Hitler's Mein Kampf and is under 24-hour protection following death threats.

Wilder's trial for inciting hatred against Muslims was interrupted last October when the judges trying him were ordered to step down by a panel of their peers who upheld the politician's bias claims.

No new trial date has been set.

Wilders' lawyer, Bram Moszkowicz, asked the court on Monday for permission to file a so-called preliminary plea to challenge the validity of his prosecution. If successful, it would cancel a new trial.

Offended Muslims

Wilders, 47, faces five counts of giving offence to Muslims and of inciting hatred against Muslims and people of non-Western immigrant origin, particularly Moroccans.

He told the court on Monday that Islam was a "totalitarian ideology" that could "only yield societies that are backward and pauperised".

"I hope that freedom of expression will triumph," the politician said.

Wilders, whose Party for Freedom gives parliamentary support to a right leaning coalition, risks up to a year in jail or a €7 600 fine for comments made in his campaign to "stop the Islamisation of the Netherlands".

Prosecutors, who initially dismissed dozens of complaints against him in June 2008, told the court last October that Wilders' statements, though hurtful, were not criminal, and sought his acquittal.

Appeals judges in January 2009 ordered that Wilders be put on trial as his utterances amounted to "sowing hatred" - compelling an unwilling prosecution to mount a case against him.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    netherlands  |  religion

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Habana to extend Test career?
Moody backs under-fire Lancaster
Folau a doubt for Wales clash
England merchandise 'reduced to clear'
Traffic Alerts

Are you burning the candle at both ends? Listen to your body and your emotional reactions. Know when to slow down or stop. It is a...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.