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Monday, 14 March 2011

Wilders' inciting hatred trial reopens (Netherlands)

The trial of MP Geert Wilders on inciting hatred and discrimination charges reopens on Monday.

The original trial was halted last October after a number of irregularities that a law court panel said could be deemed prejudicial to the anti-Islam party leader.

The trial is now reopening with a new panel of three judges. The Netherlands does not have jury trials.

Monday morning’s proceedings will kick off with an opening statement from Wilders’ lawyer Bram Moszkowicz in which he will outline the legal arguments why he believes Wilders should not stand trial.

Wilders, whose party is in an alliance with the new government, is on trial in Amsterdam on charges of discrimination and inciting hatred against Muslims, Moroccans and non-Western immigrants.

The trial centres on a number of statements made by Wilders over the years. In one, he likened the Koran to Hitler's book Mein Kampf and called for it to be banned.

In another, he said: 'The borders will be closed that day for all non-western immigrants....We have to stop the tsunami of islamisation. It is affecting our heart, our identity, our culture.'

In the earlier trial, the public prosecution department said Wilders should be found not guilty on all charges. The department had been ordered to take the case to court by the appeal court after a number of groups and immigrant organisations called on it to press charges.

Dutch News