Dutch anti-Islam MP set to go on trial in October: court

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Dutch far-right lawmaker Geert Wilders is set to stand trial in October on charges of inciting racial hatred against Muslims, the Amsterdam district court said on Tuesday.

"The trial of Mr Wilders will start in October," the court said in a statement.

According to a preliminary schedule, the case is to be heard on October 4, 6 and 8, followed by judgment on November 2, it said.

The lawmaker is accused of five counts of religious insult and anti-Muslim incitement for describing Islam as a fascist religion and calling for the banning of the Koran, which he has likened to Hitler's Mein Kampf.

His Party for Freedom (PVV) has nine out of 150 parliamentary seats.

Wilder faces up to one year in jail if convicted.

His 17-minute film, "Fitna", was called "offensively anti-Islamic" by UN chief Ban Ki-moon after its screening in The Netherlands in 2008 prompted protests in much of the Muslim world.

Prosecutors initially declined to charge Wilders, citing freedom of speech in dismissing dozens of complaints from around the country.

But an appeals court last January ordered prosecutors to put the MP on trial, saying politicians could not make "statements which create hate and grief".

Wilders' PVV won a majority of votes in its first municipality in local polls in March in a show of strength ahead of June general elections.

© 2010 AFP

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