Acquit Dutch anti-Islam MP of hate speech: prosecutors

15th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Dutch prosecutors sought anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders's acquittal Friday on all five hate speech charges against him, saying criticising a religion is no crime.

"We ask for his acquittal," two officers for the prosecution told the Amsterdam district court in turn, addressing the charges one by one as the 47-year-old politician looked on.

Wilders, a shadow partner of the new, rightist coalition government inaugurated on Thursday, went on trial last week for calling Islam "fascist" and likening the Koran to Hitler's "Mein Kampf".

The prosecuting service had initially dismissed dozens of complaints against the politician from individuals around the country in June 2008, citing his right to freedom of speech.

But appeals judges ordered in January 2009 that he stand trial as his utterances amounted to "sowing hatred" -- compelling the prosecution to mount a case against him.

© 2010 AFP

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