Dutch Court orders prosecution of Wilders for incitement to hatred
of a Dutch document was sent to me by Dutch reader Sam H. The document
appears to be an official document of the Dutch justice system. Below it I have posted the response
by Wilders’s Freedom Party.
As I’ve said before, so long as Europe’s totalitarian “anti-hate” laws remain in effect, any movement to stop the Islamization of Europe will be strangled in the cradle, because, under those laws, which make it a criminal offense to “incite hatred or discrimination” against a group, any truthful, critical statement about Islam is a crime. Therefore a top priority of the anti-jihad movement must be the repeal of the hate-speech laws.
Amsterdam Court of Appeal orders the criminal prosecution of Member of Parliament of the Dutch Second Chamber Geert Wilders
On 21 January 2009 the Court of Appeal in Amsterdam ordered the criminal prosecution of member of parliament Geert Wilders for incitement to hatred and discrimination based on his statements in various media about Moslems and their belief. In addition, the Court of Appeal considers criminal prosecution obvious for the insult to Islamic worshippers because of the comparisons made by Wilders of Islam with Nazism.
The Court of Appeal rendered judgment as a consequence of a number of complaints about the non-prosecution of Wilders for his statements in various media about Moslems and their belief. The complainants did not agree with the decision of the public prosecution which decided not to give effect to their report against Wilders.
The public prosecution is of the view, amongst others, that part of the statements of Wilders do not relate to a group of worshippers, but consists of criticism as regards the Islamic belief, as a result of which neither the self-esteem of this group of worshippers is affected nor is this group brought into discredit. Some statements of Wilders can be regarded as offending, but since these were made (outside the Dutch Second Chamber) as a contribution to a social debate there is no longer a ground for punishableness of those statements according to the public prosecution.
The Court of Appeal does not agree with this view of the public prosecution and the considerations which form the basis of this view.
The Court of Appeal has considered that the contested views of Wilders (also as shown in his movie Fitna) constitute a criminal offence according to Dutch law as seen in connection with each other, both because of their contents and the method of presentation. This method of presentation is characterized by biased, strongly generalizing phrasings with a radical meaning, ongoing reiteration and an increasing intensity, as a result of which hate is created. According to the Court of Appeal most statements are insulting as well since these statements substantially harm the religious esteem of the Islamic worshippers. According to the Court of Appeal Wilders has indeed insulted the Islamic worshippers themselves by affecting the symbols of the Islamic belief as well.
Secondly, the Court of Appeal has answered the question whether a possible criminal prosecution or conviction would be admissible according to the norms of the European Convention on Human Rights and the jurisprudence of the European Court based thereon, which considers the freedom of expression of paramount importance. The Court of Appeal has concluded that the initiation of a criminal prosecution and a possible conviction later on as well, provided that it is proportionate, does not necessarily conflict with the freedom of expression of Wilders, since statements which create hate and grief made by politicians, taken their special responsibility into consideration, are not permitted according to European standards either.
Thirdly, the Court of Appeal has answered the question whether criminal prosecution of Wilders because of his statements would be opportune in the Dutch situation (the question of opportunity). According to the Court of Appeal the instigation of hatred in a democratic society constitutes such a serious matter that a general interest is at stake in order to draw a clear boundary in the public debate.
As regards the insult of a group the Court of Appeal makes a distinction. In general the Court determines that the traditional Dutch culture of debating is based on tolerance of each other’s views to a large extent while Islamic immigrants may be expected to have consideration for the existing sentiments in the Netherlands as regards their belief, which is partly at odds with Dutch and European values and norms. As regards insulting statements the Court of Appeal prefers the political, public and other legal counter forces rather than the criminal law, as a result of which an active participation to the public debate, by Moslems as well, is promoted.
However, the Court of Appeal makes an exception as regards insulting statements in which a connection with Nazism is made (for instance by comparing the Koran with “Mein Kampf”). The Court of Appeal considers this insulting to such a degree to a community of Islamic worshippers that a general interest is deemed to be present in order to prosecute Wilders because of this.
The Court of Appeal concludes that the way in which the public debate about controversial issues is held, such as the immigration and integration debate, does not fall within the ambit of the law in principle indeed, but the situation changes when fundamental boundaries are exceeded. Then criminal law does appear as well.
Otherwise, the Court of Appeal emphasizes that this is a provisional judgment in the sense that Wilders has not been convicted in this suit of complaint. The Court of Appeal has only judged whether there are sufficient indications—at the level of a reasonable suspicion—to start a criminal prosecution against Wilders. The penal judge who will ultimately render judgment in a public criminal trial will answer the question if there is ground for conviction, and if so, to which extent.
Bron: Gerechtshof Amsterdam
Datum actualiteit: 21 januari 2009
Here is the Freedom Party’s statement
responding to the Court Decision:
Court decision an all-out assault on freedom of speech
Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 21, 2009 11:17 AM | Send
woensdag 21 januari 2009
The Freedom Party (PVV) is shocked by the Amsterdam Court of Appeal’s decision to prosecute Geert Wilders for his statements and opinions. Geert Wilders considers this ruling an all-out assault on freedom of speech.
Geert Wilders: “Apparently this is The Netherlands today. If you speak out you might be prosecuted. To participate in public debate has become a dangerous activity.”
“If I have to appear in court, not only I will be prosecuted, but also hundreds of thousands of Dutch citizens who reject the Islamisation of the West. In Dutch Parliament only the Party for Freedom is willing to speak up for the preservation of our culture and our many freedoms.”
The Freedom Party leader now faces legal proceedings that will probably take years to conclude and will also involve enormous legal fees.
“We depend on small donations. The Freedom Party is the only party in Parliament that does not accept any government funding. This court decision jeopardizes the very existence of the Freedom Party. We simply cannot afford the enormous legal expenses.”
“This is a black day for freedom.”