- Title: Dutch prosecutors seek 5,000 euro fine against Wilders for discrimination
- Date: 17th November 2016
- Summary: SCHIPHOL, THE NETHERLANDS (NOVEMBER 17, 2016) (REUTERS FOR POOL) EXTERIOR OF SECURED COURT BUILDING ENTRANCE TO THE COURTHOUSE VARIOUS OF JUDGES IN THE COURTROOM (SOUNDBITE) (Dutch) PUBLIC PROSECUTOR, WOUTER BOS, SAYING: "In our democratic society, freedom of speech is very important, but it cannot be misused at the expense of others. We ask the court to convict Wilders for inciting hatred and discrimination against a group and sentence him to pay five thousand euros." JUDGES LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (Dutch) PUBLIC PROSECUTOR, WOUTER BOS, SAYING: "Wilders asked the audience to "please give an honest answer" and then he asked rhetoric questions one after another, questions on which his audience of PVV supporters could only have had one answer, the same one Wilders have expected - "less". And he did get this answer twice, and then Wilders asked his third and last question: "Do you want more or less Moroccans?" The crowd answered "less" and Wilders powered it up by saying: "Then we will arrange it." This was a perfect interaction between Wilders and his audience." JUDGES LEAVING THE COURTROOM
- Embargoed: 2nd December 2016 13:25
- Keywords: Wilders hate speech discrimination far-right court
- Location: SCHIPHOL, THE NETHERLANDS
- City: SCHIPHOL, THE NETHERLANDS
- Country: Netherlands
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice,Judicial Process/Court Cases/Court Decisions
- Reuters ID: LVA00158U2S07
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Dutch prosecutors demanded on Thursday (November 17) that the anti-immigration politician Geert Wilders be fined 5,000 euros ($5,400) on charges of hate speech and discrimination. No prison sentence was sought.
Wilders faces charges of discrimination and inciting racial hatred at a rally in 2014, where he led supporters in chanting that they wanted fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands. He denies wrongdoing in the case, which comes four months before national elections.
"In our democratic society, freedom of speech is very important, but it cannot be misused at the expense of others. We ask the court to convict Wilders for inciting hatred and discrimination against a group and sentence him to pay five thousand euros," Public Prosecutor Wouter Bos said.
The prosecution's demand is likely to be dismissed by Wilders' opponents as too light. The maximum punishment under Dutch law is two years in prison.
As prosecutors spoke, lawmakers in Wilders' far-right Freedom Party walked onto the floor of parliament to protest. They held up a giant picture of Wilders with a red "X" over his mouth, a reference to limited free speech.
Prosecutors said in court they had proved that the comments made during regional campaigning were planned and intended to target a specific ethnic group - a violation of the constitution.
In a televised incident on March 19 2014, Wilders asked supporters whether they wanted more or fewer Moroccans. They chanted "Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!" A smiling Wilders responded, "We'll take care of that."
Prosecutors argued that Wilders had set up the scene and intentionally had his speech climax with a rhetorical question that would incite the crowd and attract media attention.
The Netherlands' 400,000 Moroccans make up about two percent of the population.
Prosecutors asked that his lack of remorse be considered when they render their judgement, most likely next month.
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