Dutch far right's Geert Wilders: I will boycott "political" trial
- Wall Street rises, buoyed by economic data; Dow sets high
- Twitter (TWTR) 'Takeover Money' Moves On as 'Trump Money' Moves In
- Buy Any Seasonal Market Weakness Ahead of Year End Rally - Oppenheimer (SPY)
- After-Hours Stock Movers 12/05: (TXMD) (COUP) (BOBE) Higher; (SB) (LXRX) (STWD) Lower (more...)
File picture: Dutch far-right Party for Freedom (PVV) leader Geert Wilders answers questions during a Reuters interview in Budapest, Hungary, June 24, 2016. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh/File Picture
Get inside Wall Street with StreetInsider Premium. Claim your 2-week free trial here.
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Geert Wilders, the Dutch anti-Islam opposition leader, said on Friday that he refuses to attend his trial next week and that he sees it as politically motivated.
Wilders is accused of discrimination and inciting racism in remarks made on live television in 2014 when he led a roomful of people chanting that they wanted fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands.
Dutch politicians are limbering up to campaign for elections on March 15, with opinion polls indicating that Wilders' Freedom Party is now neck-and-neck with the VVD Party of conservative Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
"Next Monday, the trial against freedom of speech begins.Against a politician who says what the politically correct elite does not want to hear," Wilders wrote in a statement. "This trial is a political trial, in which I refuse to cooperate."
Wilders faces a fine of up to 7,400 euros ($8,100) and a year in jail for the remarks, made during campaigning in local elections, which also included calling Moroccans "scum".
"It is a travesty that I have to stand trial because I spoke about fewer Moroccans. It is my right and my duty as a politician to speak about the problems in our country," he wrote.
In 2011, Wilders was acquitted of inciting racial hatred for calling for the Koran to be banned and for the deportation of "criminal" Moroccans.
Judges said at the time that his remarks, while offensive to some, were within the bounds of legitimate political discourse.
Legal experts believe prosecutors have a stronger case this time because he targeted a specific social group, rather than a religion.
(Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Louise Ireland)
Serious News for Serious Traders! Try StreetInsider.com Premium Free!
You May Also Be Interested In
- IEA's Birol sees oil market rebalancing well before end-2017
- UK not ruling out continued budget payments after Brexit: Hammond
- Iraqi troops push towards central Mosul from southeast
Create E-mail Alert Related CategoriesReuters
Sign up for StreetInsider Free!
Receive full access to all new and archived articles, unlimited portfolio tracking, e-mail alerts, custom newswires and RSS feeds - and more!