Wilders loses bid to stop hate speech trial
The far-right Dutch lawmaker will be prosecuted for inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims.The Hague – Far-right Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders lost a legal bid Wednesday to stop his pending trial for inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims.
"The Attorney-General is of the opinion that there are no grounds" for a further appeal, the Dutch Supreme Court said in a statement.
Lawyers for Wilders had sought to overturn a ruling by the Amsterdam appeals court in January that he should be prosecuted for a series of public anti-Muslim statements, particularly for comparing Islam to Nazism.
"It is a political process," Wilders responded in a statement on the website of his Freedom Party (PVV), which has nine out of 150 seats in parliament.
"I am being prosecuted for saying about Islam what millions of Dutch think. Freedom of expression is at risk of being offered at the altar of Islam."
The January appeals court judgment had followed numerous complaints from citizens over the prosecution service's initial refusal to press charges against Wilders.
Wilders, 45, is the maker of a 17-minute film, Fitna, which has been called "offensively anti-Islamic" by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The screening of the film in the Netherlands in 2008 prompted protests in much of the Muslim world including Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iran and Pakistan.
Wilders has called for the banning of the Koran in the Netherlands, calling it "fascist".
In June 2008, the prosecutor's office said Fitna, though offensive to Muslims, did not give rise to a punishable offence.
It dismissed dozens of complaints received from around the country, saying Wilders' utterances were made in the context of public debate.
But the appeals court ruled six months later that politicians, given their special responsibility, ought not to be permitted to make "statements which create hate and grief," and ordered the prosecution to put Wilders on trial.
AFP / Expatica