Court finds Dutch politician Geert Wilders guilty of hate speech

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Party for Freedom Leader Geert Wilders

A Dutch court has convicted populist anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders of hate speech charges at the end of a trial he branded a politically motivated “charade” that endangered freedom of speech.

Presiding Judge Hendrik Steenhuis said the court would not impose a sentence on Wilders, saying that the conviction was punishment enough for a democratically elected politician.

Wilders will be tried on the “suspicion of insulting a group of people based on race and inciting discrimination and hatred,” said the judge.

He also has been tried for inciting anti-moroccan sentiment at a previous rally he held before. Wilders asked a crowd of supporters at a rally, “Do you want more or fewer Moroccans in this city?” The crowd then chanted “Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!” Wilders replied, “I’ll take care of that.”

Wilders was not in court for the verdict, which came just over three months before national elections.

His Party for Freedom is currently narrowly leading a nationwide poll of polls and has risen in popularity during the trial.

Even before the hearing, Wilders vowed not to let a conviction muzzle him.

“Whatever the verdict, I will continue to speak the truth about the Moroccan problem, and no judge, politician or terrorist will stop me,” he tweeted shortly before the verdict.

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