Netherlands: Geert Wilders acquitted in hate-speech trial (UPDATE: Wilders' response)

Netherlands: Geert Wilders acquitted in hate-speech trial

According to the judges, since Wilders specified he had nothing against Muslims, only Islam, he was not inciting hatred or discrimination.

Via AFP:
An Amsterdam court Thursday acquitted Dutch far-right lawmaker Geert Wilders on charges of hate speech and discrimination for statements he made attacking Islam.

"You are being acquitted on all the charges that were put against you," Judge Marcel van Oosten said, reiterating an argument last month by the prosecution that charges against Wilders should be dropped.

"The bench finds that your statements are acceptable within the context of the public debate," the judge told Wilders, 47, who has been on trial in the Amsterdam regional court since last October.

The flamboyant MP faced five counts of hate speech and discrimination for his anti-Islamic remarks on websites, Internet forums and in Dutch newspapers between October 2006 and March 2008, and in his controversial 17-minute movie "Fitna" ("Discord" in Arabic).


Update, via PVV:

“I am delighted with this ruling,” says Geert Wilders. “It is a victory, not only for me but for all the Dutch people. Today is a victory for freedom of speech. The Dutch are still allowed to speak critically about islam, and resistance against islamisation is not a crime. I have spoken, I speak and I shall continue to speak.”