Anti-Islamist Dutch politician Geert Wilders has been found guilty of ‘hate speech’ after a trial in the Netherlands, and his response has been swift and defiant.
The leader of the populist Party for Freedom (PVV) is a top candidate for next prime minister of the Netherlands, and is an unabashed nationalist in the vein of Donald Trump.
His charges stem from comments made at a post-election speech in 2014, where he asked a roomful of his fellow party members how they felt about the deluge of Moroccan migrants in their country. The crowd chanted, “Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!” to which Wilders responded, “We will take care of that.”
Judges in the trial ruled that Wilders had ‘incited racial discrimination,’ to which Wilders replied in a Tweet, “Three PVV hating judges declare that Moroccans [a nationality] are a race and convict me and half of the Netherlands. Madness.”
Three PVV hating judges declare that Moroccans are a race and convict me and half of the Netherlands.
— Geert Wilders (@geertwilderspvv) December 9, 2016
Just prior to delivery of the ruling, Wilders made it clear that he would not be silenced or intimidated, declaring, “Whatever the verdict, I will continue to speak the truth about the Moroccan problem, and no judge, politician or terrorist will stop me.”
Whatever the verdict, I will continue to speak the truth about the Moroccan problem, and no judge, politician or terrorist will stop me. https://t.co/HqisrmYnqV
— Geert Wilders (@geertwilderspvv) December 9, 2016
In August, Wilders released a manifesto detailing his party’s platform and their plans to reverse the Islamization of the Netherlands by implementing bans on mosques, Islamic schools, the Koran, headscarves on women and Muslim immigration.
Wilders provided full transcript of his statement on the verdict:
Dear friends, I still cannot believe it.
But I have just been convicted.
Because I asked a question about Moroccans.
While the day before yesterday, scores of Moroccan asylum seekers terrorized buses in Emmen and did not even had to pay a fine, a politician who asks a question about fewer Moroccans is sentenced.
The Netherlands have become a sick country.
And I have a message for the judges who convicted me: You have restricted the freedom of speech of millions of Dutch and, hence, convicted everyone. No-one trusts you anymore. But, fortunately, truth and liberty are stronger than you. And so am I. I will never be silent. You will not be able to stop me.
And you are wrong, too. Moroccans are not a race, and people who criticize Moroccans are not racists. I am not a racist and neither are my voters. This sentence proves that you are completely out of touch.
And I also have a message for Prime Minister Rutte and the rest of the multicultural elite. You will not succeed in silencing me and defeating the PVV. Support for the Party for Freedom is stronger than ever and keeps growing every day. The Dutch want their country back. And cherish their freedom. It will not be possible to put the genie of positive change back in the bottle.
And to the people at home I say: Freedom of speech is our pride. And this will remain so. For centuries, we, Dutch, have been speaking the unvarnished truth. Free speech is our most important possession.
We will never let them take away our freedom of speech.
Because the flame of freedom burns within us and cannot be extinguished.
Millions of Dutch are sick and tired of political correctness. Sick and tired of the elite which only cares about itself and ignores the ordinary Dutchman. And sells out our country.
People no longer feel represented by all these disconnected politicians, judges and journalists, who have been harming our people for so long and make our country weaker instead of stronger.
But I will keep fighting for you.
And I tell all of you:
Thank you so much.
Thank you so much for all your support. It is really overwhelming, I am immensely grateful to you.
Thanks to your massive and heartfelt support, I know that I am not alone. That you back me and are with me and unwaveringly stand for freedom of expression.
Today, I was convicted in a political trial which, shortly before the elections, attempts to neutralize the leader of the largest and most popular opposition party.
But they will not succeed.
Not even with this verdict.
Because I speak on behalf of millions of Dutch.
And The Netherlands are entitled to politicians who speak the truth and honestly address the problems with Moroccans.
Politicians who will not let themselves be silenced.
Not even by the judges.
And you can count on it: I will never be silent.
And this conviction only makes me stronger.
This is a shameful sentence, which, of course, I will appeal. But I can tell you: I am now more vigorous than ever.
And I know: Together, we aim for victory.
Standing shoulder to shoulder, we are strong enough to change The Netherlands.
To allow our children to grow up in a country they can be proud of.
A Netherlands where we are allowed to say again what we think.
Where everybody can safely walk the streets again.
Where we are in charge of our own country again.
And that is what we stand for.
For freedom and for our beautiful Netherlands!
Facebook: Dan Lyman