July 1, 2008

Anti-Islam Dutch politician escapes prosecution

by David Masters

A Dutch politician who published statements vilifying Islam and the Qur’an will not face prosecution by the Dutch authorities.

Geert Wilders of the right-wing People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy issued written statements in 2006 and 2007 that caused more that 40 criminal complaints to be made against him.

A film released by Wilders in March 2007 caused further anger and complaints.

However, the Dutch public prosecution service has said that it will not be bringing a case against Wilders because his statements did not contravene Dutch anti-discrimination laws.

Prosecution spokesperson, Hanneke Festen, said that whilst Dutch law prohibits statements inciting hatred on the basis of race or religion, it also protects freedom of speech.

Wilders has said that he is pleased, but not surprised by the decision, as he had ensured his statements were within the boundaries of the law.

On hearing the news, authorities in Jordan decided to prosecute Wilders under international online publishing laws.

They have given the politician 15 days to appear before a Jordanian court.

If he fails to do so, an Interpol arrest warrant may be issued against him.

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