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Cleared of hate charges

Reader comment on item: Why I Stand with Geert Wilders

Submitted by Vijay (Germany), Jun 23, 2011 at 06:58

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-13883331

Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders, who described Islam as "fascist", has been acquitted of inciting hatred against Muslims.

Amsterdam judge Marcel van Oosten accepted the Freedom Party leader's statements were directed at Islam and not at Muslim believers.

They were, the judge ruled, "acceptable within the context of public debate".

It is believed the plaintiffs may attempt to make their case before a European court or the UN.

Their lawyer, Ties Prakken, was quoted by Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf as saying they were "deeply disappointed" and believed the right of minorities to be protected against hate speech had been violated.

'Free to speak'

Mr Wilders has compared the Koran to Hitler's Mein Kampf.

Judge van Oosten said that although the bench found remarks by Mr Wilders "gross and denigrating", they had not given rise to hatred.

The verdict was greeted with applause from Mr Wilders' supporters in the public gallery

Geert Wilders cleared of hate charges by Dutch court

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