THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A Dutch appeals court upheld Friday the conviction of anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders for insulting Moroccans in comments he made at an election evening gathering in 2014. Alternatively, the court overturned Wilders’ conviction for inciting discrimination.
The appeals court did no longer punish Wilders for his conviction on the price of insulting a community, which he can allure to the Dutch Supreme Court.
The comments for which Wilders changed into convicted “can make contributions to polarization inside of Dutch society, whereas in our democratic, pluralistic society appreciate for others, severely minority groups, is of huge significance,” stated Presiding Affirm Jan Maarten Reinking.
Wilders, whose political occupation has been based entirely entirely largely on his strident anti-Islam rhetoric, changed into convicted in December 2016 of insulting and inciting discrimination against Moroccans in 2014. He changed into no longer given a punishment.
Talking to journalists outdoor court, Wilders slammed the case as a “political trial” and stated the court “has dumped freedom of speech in the rubbish. No longer factual for me, however for everyone.”
The Party for Freedom leader has always insisted he’s innocent and branded his prosecution a politically-motivated strive to muzzle him and an assault on the freedom of speech. The appeals court rejected his claims of political interference in the case and stated that free speech also has limits.
Friday’s conviction changed into according to comments Wilders made on the evening of Dutch municipal elections in 2014 at a meeting in a Hague cafe. In what appeals judges stated changed into a carefully prepared change, Wilders requested supporters whether or no longer they wished more or fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands. That sparked a chant of “Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!” — to which he answered, “we’ll rob care of it.”
The ruling Friday comes some six months earlier than nationwide parliamentary elections in the Netherlands. Consistent with a poll of polls, Wilders’ occasion is the largest opposition occasion.
Explaining why Wilders changed into no longer given a punishment Friday, Reinking stated primary that Wilders has lived for years under tight security as a result of threats.
“The accused has already for years paid a excessive designate for expressing his opinion,” Reinking stated.