Far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders convicted of inciting discrimination
Far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders was convicted on Friday of inciting discrimination, but no penalty was handed down. The conviction stems from an incident in 2014 when Wilders addressed supporters chanting that they wanted “Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!” Moroccans in the Netherlands by replying that he would “take care of that.”
The far-right politician was not present in court to hear the decision, but reacted to his conviction on Twitter soon after it was announced. Wilders called the verdict “madness,” and vowed to continue to “speak the truth about the Moroccan problem” in the Netherlands.
Three PVV hating judges declare that Moroccans are a race and convict me and half of the Netherlands.
— Geert Wilders (@geertwilderspvv) December 9, 2016
Wilders also posted a five-minute video reaction to the verdict, calling the Netherlands a “sick country” and telling the three judges who convicted him: “You have restricted the freedom of speech of millions of Dutch, hence you have convicted everyone.”
Wilders goes on to say that he is not a racist because “Morocans are not a race” before adding: “I will never be silent, you will not be able to stop me.”
Presiding Judge Hendrik Steenhuis told the court that he was not imposing a custodial sentence as he felt the conviction was penalty enough for a democratically elected politician.
However that may not necessarily be the case. Wilders and his Party for Freedom (PVV) will contest national elections in three months time and the party currently holds a narrow lead in a nationwide poll. Over the course of this trial — which Wilders called a politically motivated “charade” — the party’s popularity has increased.
In his video statement, Wilders says: “Today I was convicted in a political trial, which, shortly before the elections, attempts to neutralize the leader of the largest and most popular opposition party. But they will not succeed.”
Earlier on Friday Wilders said he would “continue to speak the truth about the Moroccan problem, and no judge, politician or terrorist will stop me.”