Positive reactions to Wilders' acquittal
So far, reactions to Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders’ acquittal on charges of hatemongering and discrimination have been primarily positive.
Mr Wilders’ lawyer Bram Moszkowicz said: “We have said right from the start that the importance of this case transcends Mr Wilders personal interests, and that is specifically why, also as a citizen, I’m happy about the acquittal. There is always a fear that somebody could actually be convicted, but thinking about that, sometimes even lying awake at night, I have always remained confident. Everyone should be able to say what needs to be said. I draw the line at incitement to violence, which Mr Wilders never did. The judiciary did not suffer any ill effects from this trial or the recusal of the first court.”
The Public Prosecutors’ Office is primarily happy that the trial is finally over. “It was a tedious and protracted trial for everyone involved, and just for that reason alone we are glad it’s now officially over. When we were ordered to prosecute Mr Wilders after initially deciding to drop the case, we again considered whether we should seek a conviction. We have been loyal to the court’s ruling, but drew our own conclusions. We are pleased that the court has now ruled that Mr Wilders’ statements are not punishable, regardless of how anyone might feel about them.”
The verdict was also acceptable to Prime Minister Mark Rutte: “The court’s ruling is clear and in accordance with the acquittal sought by the Public Prosecutors’ Office. It’s great news for Geert Wilders, with whom we’re enjoying a good working relationship based on his party’s parliamentary support for our minority government.”
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