Wednesday

23rd Aug 2017

Wilders convicted for insulting Moroccans

  • Wilders called for 'fewer Moroccans' in the city of The Hague (Photo: European Parliament)

Dutch anti-EU politician Geert Wilders has been convicted by a Dutch court on Friday (9 December) for insulting a group and inciting discrimination, for remarks he made about Moroccans in 2014.

The court said it was “legally and convincingly proven” that Wilders had insulted Moroccans as a group when he rhetorically asked a crowd if there should be “fewer Moroccans” in the country.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

However, the court did not impose a fine or jail sentence.

Wilders was acquitted from the charge of inciting to hatred.

“This is not a political trial,” the judge said, adding that the personal opinions of the members of the court played no role in the verdict.

He noted that a democratic society should have room for remarks that “shock”, but that freedom of speech is not unlimited.

Those limits also apply to MPs, the judge said.

“Democratically elected politicians like Wilders are not above the law.”

Mere minutes after the verdict was announced, Wilders' defence lawyer announced he would appeal.

Wilders was not present during the ruling. In a tweet, Wilders called the verdict "completely crazy", said the judges "hated" his political party and that "half the Netherlands" had been convicted with him.

The judge also said statements Wilders made via his Twitter account, denouncing the court as biased, were “unworthy of an elected politician”.

'Fewer, fewer' Moroccans

Wilders was before the court case after public statements he made in the run-up to local elections in March 2014.

Talking to a tv reporter, he said that if his party were in charge of The Hague, the city would have “if at all possible, fewer Moroccans.”

On the night of the elections, a week later, Wilders asked supporters whether they wanted “less Europe” and if they wanted “fewer Moroccans."

The crowd chanted “fewer, fewer”, following which Wilders said: “Then we will arrange that.”

The public prosecutor had previously demanded Wilders pay a €5,000 fine for “insulting Moroccans as a group and inciting hatred of and discrimination against Moroccans”.

Ahead of the verdict, Wilders had said the verdict “whether acquittal or conviction, will not change anything de facto”, and that he would continue to speak his mind.

Several political analysts had pointed out, ahead of Friday's ruling, that both outcomes would be a political win for Wilders.

Having lost the case, he can now play the role of the victim who is being silenced by the establishment. Wilders, throughout the case had dubbed it a “political trial” and said the judges were biased against him.

Had he won the case, he would be able to prove he was right all along.

In any case, Wilders is expected to do well in the upcoming national elections in the Netherlands, on 15 March 2017.

His party has been leading in most polls for weeks and has consistently been doing well since the migration crisis broke out in September 2015.

Wilders also profits from a general anti-establishment feeling in the Netherlands.

Earlier this year, he campaigned against an EU-Ukraine treaty, and correctly predicted to EUobserver that “the chances are very big that a majority of the people will vote No in this referendum”.

Wilders' virtual success in the polls contrasts sharply to his party's parliamentary representation since he withdrew his support from a minority government in 2012.

His party has only 12 of 150 seats in the Lower House, after having lost three dissident MPs. Two of them had left after the “fewer Moroccans” speech.

While polls may have lost some credibility after failing to predict Brexit or the outcome of the US election, it is widely expected that Wilders' party will come out victorious in next year's elections.

Analysis

Visegrad lobby makes food quality an EU issue

Fico convinced the EU commission chief to take action in the perceived problem of discriminatory food practices, even though the evidence for the phenomenon is anecdotal.

Opinion

Setting course for strong and focused EU

From strengthening the internal market to completing the energy union, the prime ministers of Denmark, the Netherlands and Finland set out their vision for the EU.

News in Brief

  1. US will ask Nato allies to send more troops into Afghanistan
  2. Greece to be absent at event on Communism and Nazism
  3. Czechs want observer status in Eurogroup meetings
  4. Putin sends EU-blacklisted ambassador to US
  5. Austria has begun checks at Italian border
  6. Slovenian PM: Brexit talks will take longer than expected
  7. Merkel backs diesel while report warns of economic harm
  8. UK to publish new Brexit papers this week

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressEuropean Governments Must Take Stronger Action Against Terrorism
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  3. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  4. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  6. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  9. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  11. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  12. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference