Prosecutors: Dutch anti-Islam politician can't defend himself by arguing his comments are true
The truth is irrelevant, say the judges. From the Canadian Free Press:
AMSTERDAM - Populist politician Geert Wilders' negative views of Islam - he has called it "retarded" and "inherently violent" - are his opinions, not irrefutable facts, Dutch prosecutors argued Tuesday at his criminal trial for inciting hatred.
Wilders has argued that his views of Islam are supported by expert and academic analysis, and speaking the truth cannot be a crime. He says the charges against him are an attack on the freedom of speech.
But at the second hearing of his closely watched trial, prosecutors countered that there is no general agreement about the nature of Islam, and Wilders' statements are opinions that cross the legal threshold.
Prosecutors, however, dropped one charge against him, that of insulting a group on the basis of its religion, noting his statements have been mostly directed toward Islam as an ideology, rather than Muslims.
He is still charged with inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims.
Under Dutch law, it is illegal to insult or incite hatred against a group of people on the basis of gender, religion, race or sexuality.
"What he puts forward is, and remains, his individual opinion, and just like with any expression of opinion, we can test whether it falls under the right to freedom of expression or whether it is a transgression of the criminal code," said prosecutor Birgit van Roessel...
Posted on 10/12/2010 10:33 AM by Rebecca Bynum