"More freedom of speech in NL"

17th April 2007, Comments 0 comments

17 April 2007, AMSTERDAM – "If I lose my political rights in Belgium, I will seek political asylum in the Netherlands if necessary," Philip Dewinter, leader of ultra-nationalist, anti-immigration party Vlaams Belang, said on Monday in a Belgian newspaper.

17 April 2007

AMSTERDAM – "If I lose my political rights in Belgium, I will seek political asylum in the Netherlands if necessary," Philip Dewinter, leader of ultra-nationalist, anti-immigration party Vlaams Belang, said on Monday in a Belgian newspaper.

The Belgian Parlimanet will debate a bill on Wednesday that would automatically remove politicians from their function if convicted of racism. Only a judge can now revoke someone's civil liberties.

 "If this law is passed I may become its first victim," Dewinter said.

Dewinter was referring to a case brought against him by the Council of State after a comment in American magazine Jewish Week. When asked why Antwerp's Jews should vote for a xenophobic party he said: "We have no hate whatsoever for foreigners, but if it must be called a phobia, rather Islamophobia. Yes, I do fear Islam."

If the politician is silenced in Belgium, he will come to the Netherlands, he said. There is more freedom of expression here.

He said on television programme Pauw en Witteman last night that he does not trust the independence of the courts in his home country. He said this matter had become highly politicised.

Dutch Defence Minister Eimert van Middelkoop reminded Dewinter on the programme last night that there would be no need for him to apply for asylum. As an EU citizen he can settle freely in the Netherlands.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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