Dutch right-wing lawmaker Geert Wilders’ lawyers are demanding the suspension of his appeal proceedings for an inquiry into whether the case against him for demanding “fewer Moroccans” was “politically motivated”. The hearings on the complaint against the 2016 court decision that found Wilders guilty of inciting discrimination against Moroccans have begun today in the Hague Appeals Court.
Although Wilders was not expected to speak at the hearings, he earlier took to Twitter with his call to “Stop this political process!” and insisted that there were contradictions in the statements on the matter made by then-justice minister Ivo Opstelten and other officials during his case.
Collectief geheugenverlies getuigen. Minister en topambtenaren spreken elkaar tegen of weten er zogenaamd niks meer van. Met geen pen te beschrijven.— Geert Wilders (@geertwilderspvv) 25 июня 2019 г.
Stop dit politieke proces!#Wilders #Wildersgate pic.twitter.com/cEuOpwBoB3
Collective memory loss of witnesses. Minister and senior officials contradict each other or allegedly know nothing about it. This cannot be described with words. Stop this political process!
According to Wilders’ legal team, the former cabinet member was allegedly involved in launching the prosecution against the right-wing politician, and the prosecutors failed to disclose it. His lawyer Geert Jan Knoops suggested that these assertions should be investigated. Opstelten, who resigned in 2017 over an unrelated issue, refuted these allegations.
This year, Wilders’ lawyers managed to restart the appeal that originally began in 2018. His team alleged that the judges were biased and applied for them to be removed.
PVV leader Geert Wilders was found guilty of inciting "racial discrimination" against Moroccans living in the Netherlands in December 2016. The charges related to a speech Wilders gave at the end of the Dutch regional election campaign in 2014.
He reportedly repoasked a crowd of PVV supporters whether they wanted "more or fewer Moroccans"; after the audience howled for the latter, he responded that he would "take care of that." Wilders claimed he had been speaking strictly about "criminal Moroccans", and that Moroccans were not a race. But his defence was not accepted by the court as the panel deemed his remarks as “demeaning and insulting to the Moroccan population”. Since then, he has repeatedly denounced the verdict.
Wilders is internationally known for his anti-Prophet Muhammad remarks and hardline statements about migrants, including promises to ban the Koran and close down mosques. In 2018 he even planned to hold a Prophet Muhammad cartoon competition, but announced his decision to cancel it later, referring to death threats from Muslims and concerns that other people might be in danger.