May 19, 2024
The Netherlands: The Geert Wilders Show Trial Continues
Newly released documents show that senior members of the Dutch government — including the former prime minister and justice minister — applied political pressure on public prosecutors to indict Geert Wilders, leader of the Party for Freedom for "hate speech."
Newly released documents show that senior members of the Dutch government — including the former prime minister and justice minister — applied political pressure on public prosecutors to indict Geert Wilders, leader of the Party for Freedom for “hate speech.”

Newly released documents show that senior members of the Dutch government — including the prime minister and two former justice ministers — applied political pressure on public prosecutors to indict Geert Wilders, leader of the Party for Freedom (Partij voor de Vrijheid, PVV), for hate speech for comments he made about Islam and Moroccan immigrants.

The documents, which the government turned over to the Amsterdam-based newspaper De Volkskrant in compliance with a Freedom of Information request, appear to confirm long-standing allegations by Wilders that the government’s decade-long legal war against him is far from a principled pursuit of justice, and instead politically motivated and aimed at silencing his criticism of multiculturalism and mass migration from the Muslim world.

On February 3, De Volkskrant reported that the government documents — numbering nearly 500 pages — show that as early as 2008, then-Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin was “intensively involved” in the decision to prosecute Wilders.

According to De Volkskrant, the Public Prosecution Service (Openbaar Ministerie, OM) found nothing illegal about Wilders statements, but Hirsch Ballin pressed the OM on three separate occasions to change its assessment.

In June 2008, the OM dismissed more than 40 criminal complaints against Wilders on the grounds that his statements were made “in the context of political debate” and therefore “not of a punishable nature.”

[…]

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