Wilders will face prosecution on racial hatred charges

15th January 2010, Comments 0 comments

A Dutch court on Wednesday dismissed a challenge by far-right lawmaker Geert Wilders against his pending prosecution for inciting hatred against Muslims.

The Hague--"The court declares Wilders' challenge against his indictment inadmissible," said a statement by the Amsterdam district court.

Wilders, who claims his prosecution is a "political process," is due to appear in an Amsterdam court next Wednesday for a hearing to plan the modalities of his trial, set to be held later this year.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, said Wednesday they had finalised their hate speech indictment against the MP, listing five counts of religious insult and anti-Muslim incitement.

The document, made available to AFP, was the "definitive" version, spokesman Franklin Wattimena said.

The indictment charges Wilders with insulting Muslims by describing Islam as a fascist religion and calling for the banning of the Koran, which he likens to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf.

He is also accused of inciting hatred and discrimination for stating Moroccan youths were violent, calling for the Koran to be banned and for Dutch borders to be closed to all "non-western immigrants", as well as for advocating an end to what he terms "the Islamic invasion".

Wilders, 46, faces up to one year in jail if convicted.

The controversial lawmaker 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.

The prosecution service initially declined to charge Wilders, dismissing dozens of complaints from around the country in the context of freedom of speech.

But an appeals court last January ordered prosecutors to put Wilders on trial, saying politicians should not be permitted to make "statements which create hate and grief."

AFP/ Expatica

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