Dutch court acquits Geert Wilders in hate speech trial | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 23.06.2011
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Dutch court acquits Geert Wilders in hate speech trial

A court in Amsterdam has acquitted Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders of inciting hatred against Muslims in a widely-publicized trial. Wilders had made comparisons between the Koran and Hitler's "Mein Kampf."

Geert Wilders

Wilders has been acquitted of all charges

Dutch anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders has been acquitted of charges that he offended and incited hatred against Muslims and groups of non-Western origin.

A court in Amsterdam reached the decision on Thursday after a trial that saw many starts and stops due to legal wrangling.

The politician claimed he was being persecuted for his political views. In the past, he had likened Islam to fascism and made comparisons between the Muslim holy book, the Koran, and Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf".

Judge Marcel van Oosten told Wilders in court on Thursday that although his comments were "rude and condescending," they were "acceptable within the context of the public debate."

Wilders told reporters after the verdict had been reached that the decision was "a victory for freedom of speech."

Author: Matt Zuvela (Reuters, dpa)
Editor: Martin Kuebler

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