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Dutch politician Geert Wilders guilty of racial discrimination

Dutch politician Geert Wilders guilty of racial discrimination

Dutch politician Geert Wilders, convicted yesterday of inciting racial discrimination against Moroccans living in the Netherlands, is to appeal against the verdict reached by what he earlier described as ‘a kangeroo court’.

Presiding Judge Hendrik Steenhuis said the court would not impose a sentence on Wilders, head of the right wing PVV Freedom Party. because the conviction was punishment enough for a democratically elected lawmaker. Prosecutors had asked judges to fine him 5,000 euros (£4,200).

According to this report, Wilders was not present to hear the judgement but his lawyer Geert-Jan Knoops immediately issued a statement to say that he would appeal. The trial lasted 20 months.

The case was based on almost 6,500 official complaints after Wilders led a party rally during a local election campaign in The Hague in March 2014, asking whether there should be “more or fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands.”

The crowd’s response of “fewer, fewer”, was clearly organised, said a judge at the secure court at Schiphol Judicial Complex, near Amsterdam, ruling that Wilders had breached the boundaries of even a politician’s freedom of speech.

“It doesn’t matter that Wilders gave another message afterwards [saying he was referring only to criminal Moroccans and benefits claimants],” said the judge.

The message that evening from the podium, via the media, was loud and proud and did its work … The group was collectively dismissed as inferior to other Dutch people.

Wilders said, in a statement in English posted on his YouTube channel:

I still cannot believe it, but I have been convicted because I asked a question about Moroccans. The Netherlands has become a sick country. The judge who convicted me [has] restricted the freedom of speech for millions of Dutch. I will never be silent. I am not a racist and neither are my voters.

Michiel Pestman, lawyer for some of the complainants who helped bring the case, said:

There is a debate in the Netherlands about whether this has given Wilders free publicity, but he has to pay his lawyers. It’s a unique decision. This is the first time that a court has said that minorities need special protection and even a politician should be very careful about what he says.

He added he expected his clients would be pleased, even though they were not granted compensation and both sides must pay their own costs; he also predicted the case would end up in the European courts.

Abdou Menebhi, one of the complainants, said that he was “satisfied”.

For the first time, Wilders has been condemned for racism and discrimination: half a million people feel the threat of Wilders every day. This gives us trust in the legal process. I hope people who vote for Wilders will listen.

Meanwhile Lucien Nix, a solicitor for the council of Moroccan mosques in Holland added that his clients would be discussing whether they could bring a civil process after this ruling. He added:

The Netherlands can take a deep breath of relief. Moroccan Dutch people have felt robbed of their dignity and a heightened sense of discrimination. We have waited for this for a long time.

In his final statement to the court, delivered on November 23, 2016, Wilders said that he was under constant threat from Islamic terror organisations, such as Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and ISIS, “and who knows how many individual Muslims”. He spoke of the problems the Dutch had with crimes committed by Moroccans and added:

I must speak. Not just for myself, but for The Netherlands, our country … I need to use the only freedom that I still have to protect our country. Against Islam and against terrorism. Against immigration from Islamic countries. Against the huge problem with Moroccans in The Netherlands. I cannot remain silent about it; I have to speak out. That is my duty, I have to address it, I must warn for it, I have to propose solutions for it?

I had to give up my freedom to do this and I will continue. Always. People who want to stop me will have to murder me first …

Do not forget that, when you judge me, you are not just passing judgment on a single man, but on millions of men and women in The Netherlands …. People who agree with me. People who will not understand a conviction. People who want their country back, who are sick and tired of not being listened to, who cherish freedom of expression.

Members of the court, you are passing judgment on the future of The Netherlands. And I tell you: if you convict me, you will convict half of The Netherlands. And many Dutch will lose their last bit of trust in the rule of law.

He continued:

I spoke and asked a question about Moroccans. Moroccans are not a race. Who makes this up? No-one at home understands that Moroccans have suddenly become a race. This is utter nonsense. Not a single nationality is a race. Belgians are no race, Americans are no race. Stop this nonsense …

Our ancestors fought for freedom and democracy. They suffered, many gave their lives. We owe our freedoms and the rule of law to these heroes.? But the most important freedom, the cornerstone of our democracy, is freedom of speech. The freedom to think what you want and to say what you think.? If we lose that freedom, we lose everything. Then, The Netherlands cease to exist, then the efforts of all those who suffered and fought for us are useless. From the freedom fighters for our independence in the Golden Age to the resistance heroes in World War II. I ask you: Stand in their tradition. Stand for freedom of expression.

By asking a conviction, the Public Prosecutor, as an accomplice of the established order, as a puppet of the government, asks to silence an opposition politician. And, hence, silence millions of Dutch. I tell you: The problems with Moroccans will not be solved this way, but will only increase.? For people will sooner be silent and say less because they are afraid of being called racist, because they are afraid of being sentenced. If I am convicted, then everyone who says anything about Moroccans will fear to be called a racist.

Hat tip: Trevor Blake

12 responses to “Dutch politician Geert Wilders guilty of racial discrimination”

  1. Bill Bonk says:

    This guy is saying what millions of Dutch people are saying and I know that for a fact because I have close working and friendly relationships with many Dutch people. And for his trouble there is a good chance that he will end up like Theo van Goch … murdered for saying what he thinks. Islam has set its face against free speech and is doing all it can to shut it down.

  2. Trevor Blake says:

    More from his final statement to the court: “Moreover, members of the court, for me personally, freedom of speech is the only freedom I still have. Every day, I am reminded of that. This morning, for example. I woke up in a safe house. I got into an armored car and was driven in a convoy to this high security courtroom at Schiphol. The bodyguards, the blue flashing lights, the sirens. Every day again. It is hell. But I am also intensely grateful for it. Because they protect me, they literally keep me alive, they guarantee the last bit of freedom left to me: my freedom of speech. The freedom to go somewhere and speak about my ideals, my ideas to make The Netherlands – our country – stronger and safer. After twelve years without freedom, after having lived for safety reasons, together with my wife, in barracks, prisons and safe houses, I know what lack of freedom means.”

    Not one of us at the Freethinker has insulted Islam any less than Mr. Wilders (and some of us perhaps more).

    Where is that peaceful majority of Muslims I always hear about? Why can they not root out a ‘tiny minority of extremists?’

  3. L.Long says:

    “….Why can they not root out a ‘tiny minority of extremists?’….”
    What makes you think they are the minority!!!! And numerically the so called moderates may be larger, but so what?? They are not doing anything,sure they can say that aint TRUE isLame! Big deal again…they lie!! I’ve read their book o’BS! ALL DOGMAs that follow the dogma are evil.

  4. Peter Sykes says:

    As a ‘lefty’ I find myself increasingly supportive of the right in Europe. The only people standing up for free speech! What the hell!

  5. Bill Bonk says:

    TB
    “Not one of us at the Freethinker has insulted Islam any less than Mr. Wilders.”

    I’m not sure that is phrased correctly. Insult carries the notion of exageration or a degree of untruth in an calculated attempt to cause indignation. I rather think what I have said about islam is an accurate representation of the truth … maybe others feel the same.

  6. Bill Bonk says:

    Q. How do muslims shut down free speech?
    A1. By playing the racial prejudice card.
    A2. By playing the downtrodden hard done by misunderstood minority.
    A3. By employing extreme violence – both focused and indiscriminate.

  7. Broga says:

    Saying what you thought used to be met with a verbal or written challenge. Now if you say what some groups don’t like you end up in court. Free speech is now being able to say what you think as long as doesn’t offend someone. That imposes severe restrictions.

    We are losing, or may have lost, the right to robust and candid debate. And we won’t get it back. We have become timorous and intellectually and verbally enfeebled.

  8. I do hope Geert Wilders’ Party For Freedom wins the Dutch elections next year. I also hope that neither the crazed leftists nor the insane Islamists attempts to silence him by means of violence—as they once did to Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh. The Blond Bombshell is, as far as I am concerned, the Voice of Reason in a very sick country.

  9. Great Satan says:

    Geert Wilders is a brave man who tells the truth – the sooner British and European indiginous peoples desert their treacherous establishment and send islam packing back to its 3rd world shitholes, the better !

  10. Laura Roberts says:

    @PeterSykes: I know what you mean. In America, secularists are considered left, if not far left. Freedom of speech has been under serious threat from the right — recall how the Dixie Chicks were subjected to death threats for criticising G.W. Bush — one can only imagine how “Twitter storm” Trump and his toadies will respond to criticism.

  11. barriejohn says:

    Much as I abhor racist anti-Semites like Wilders, we are now going to have a “specific definition of anti-Semitism” in this country:

    The definition calls anti-Semitism “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews.”

    Well, I can’t see any problems there, can you (he jokes)?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-38281950