Dutch prosecutor asks for acquittal of Wilders on all charges
The Dutch Public Prosecutor has sought the acquittal of anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders on all three charges against him. Earlier this week, the prosecution asked for an acquittal for the charge of insulting Muslims and asked the judges not to award damages to the plaintiffs. Today, the prosecution asked for an acquittal on the two remaining charges: inciting hatred and discrimination.
Ealier today, the prosecution said "Criticism of religion is allowed as long as it does not lead to incitement of hatred against people."
The Public Prosecution argues that although Mr Wilders comments could be experienced as hurtful and discriminatory, he cannot be prosecuted for discrimination as his comments are made in the arena of public debate. The judges will present their verdict on 5 November.
The trial against Geert Wilders began two weeks ago. The comments made by the controversial politician include calling Islam "fascist" and likening the Koran to Hitler's "Mein Kampf".
In June 2008, the Dutch prosecution service dismissed dozens of complaints against the politician from individuals around the country, citing his right to freedom of speech.
However an appeals judges ordered in January 2009 that he stand trial - compelling the prosecution to mount a case against him.
As leader of the Freedom Party, Geert Wilders is an informal partner of the new right-wing coalition government inaugurated on Thursday. If found guilty, the MP faces up to a year in prison or a 7,600-euro fine.
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