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Anti-Islam trial

October 22, 2010

A Dutch court has approved a request by right-wing Dutch politician Geert Wilders for a retrial with new judges. The leader of the Freedom Party is facing charges of inciting racial hatred against Muslims.

anti-Geert Wilders protestors
Wilders accused the judges of being biasedImage: AP

Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders welcomed the decision by a Dutch court to order a retrial with new judges, after he complained that the current judges were biased.

"This gives me a new chance of a new fair trial," Wilders told the Reuters news agency. "I'm confident I can only be acquitted, because I have broken no law, but spoken the truth," he insisted.

Wilders' lawyer had asked the court to replace the judges because of concern about their being biased, after they did not immediately approve a request to hear testimony from a witness the defense considered crucial to its case.

Geert Wilders
Wilders has caused outrage among MuslimsImage: AP

Back to square one

The Amsterdam court ruled that the defense's fear of bias was "understandable", meaning the entire trial process will have to be repeated, although it was not clear when it would reopen.

Wilders has repeatedly equated Islam and Muslims with fascism and violence, and he also called for the Koran to be banned in The Netherlands.

The Dutch politician's anti-immigration Freedom Party was one of the big winners in June's national elections and, while not part of the government, it has agreed to prop it up in crucial decisions.

Author: Nicole Goebel (Reuters, AP, epd)
Editor: Chuck Penfold