Geert Wilders Refuses To Show Up To His Own Hate Speech Trial

REUTERS/Yves Herman

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders will be tried on charges of “inciting racal hatred” Monday, but he won’t be in court to defend himself.

The charges date back to 2014, when Wilders asked his supporters if they wanted fewer or more Moroccans in the country during a televised rally. The crowd started chanting “Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!” with Wilders responding that he would take care of it. (RELATED: Dutch Party Leader Set To Go On Trial For Anti-Islam Stance)

Wilders’ attorneys argued their client was singled out from a larger group of people and asked for the case to be dismissed. Judge Hendrik Steenhuis disagreed and said prosecutors had great leeway in deciding that the action should be considered discriminatory speech.

Wilders believes he is getting “prosecuted for what millions [of Dutch people] think.”

“It is my right and my duty as a politician to speak about the problems in our country,” Wilders said Friday. “I have said nothing wrong.”

Wilders thinks he is subject to a “political trial” set up to harm his party’s chances in next year’s election.

“It is a travesty that I have to stand trial because I spoke about fewer Moroccans,” Wilders said. “Millions of Dutch citizens – 43 percent of the population – want fewer Moroccans. Not because they despise all Moroccans or want all Moroccans out of the country, but because they are sick and tired of the nuisance and terror caused by so many Moroccans.”

The Freedom Party is currently in a dead heat with the ruling conservative VVD party to become the biggest party in next year’s parliamentary elections.

A verdict in Wilders’ trial is expected by the end of November.

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