03 November 2016

Dutch MP hate speech trial 'far-reaching', court hears

The hate speech trial of Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders is a "political process" which could have a lasting impact on the Netherlands, a court heard on Thursday.

"If you ask me whether this case is a political process that may have far-reaching consequences, not only in the Netherlands but the whole world, I would say so," Paul Cliteur, a Leiden-based law professor and philosopher told judges.

Cliteur was testifying for the defence as hearings resumed in the case against the far-right politician, accused of insulting a racial group and inciting racial hatred after comments he made about Moroccans living in the Netherlands.

Wilders, 53, has dubbed the case a "political trial."

He has been snubbing the hearings, unfolding at a high-security court near Amsterdam's Schiphol airport, and contends he had simply been exercising his right to free speech. [AFP] Read more