Netherlands: No Tolerance For Geert Wilders

Death to Free Speech in the Netherlands – Again

  • “[T]his is not just about my freedom of speech, but about everyone’s…” — Geert Wilders.

  • “But for all of us it was absolutely obvious that we all wanted to live in a society where people can…. present their views… and not to be punished for this. It is called the town square test, where every person can go in the center of the town, say what he or she thinks, what she believes, to insist on their right to promote these views, and will not be arrested and will not be punished for this. And if that is possible, that is a free society. If it is not permitted it is a fear society. And there is nothing in between.” — Natan Sharansky, former Soviet dissident, November 30, 2004.

  • The Netherlands is a party to the European Convention of Human Rights, article 10 of which states the following: “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers…”

  • In its case law, the European Court of Human Rights has stated that Article 10 protects not only “the information or ideas that are regarded as inoffensive but also those that offend, shock or disturb; such are the demands of that pluralism, tolerance and broad-mindedness without which there is no democratic society. Opinions expressed in strong or exaggerated language are also protected.”

  • What seems offensive is often extremely subjective…. Speech with which everyone agrees does not need protection.

  • In the light of the case law of the European Human Rights Court, which specifically protects the political speech of political actors and political campaigns, it is difficult to see how the question Wilders posed could legitimately be limited in accordance with article 10 (2). Wilders did not incite to violence, nor did he jeopardize national security or public safety or any of the other concerns noted as relevant to limiting free speech.

A Dutch appeals court recently upheld the conviction of Geert Wilders for supposedly insulting Moroccans in comments he made at an election rally in 2014. Pictured: Wilders speaks in the Dutch Parliament in The Hague on September 19, 2018. (Photo by Jerry Lampen/AFP via Getty Images)

 

A Dutch appeals court recently upheld the conviction of Dutch politician Geert Wilders for supposedly insulting Moroccans in comments he made at an election rally in 2014. At the same time, however, the appeals court overturned Wilders’ conviction for inciting hatred or discrimination against Moroccans.

At an election rally in The Hague in March 2014, as leader of the Partij voor de Vrijheid (Party for Freedom), reportedly the country’s most popular opposition party today, Wilders asked those present, whether they wanted “more or fewer Moroccans?” After the crowd chanted “fewer, fewer” Wilders said, “We’re going to organize that.”

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One thought on “Netherlands: No Tolerance For Geert Wilders”

  1. Re: “A Dutch appeals court recently upheld the conviction of Dutch politician Geert Wilders for supposedly insulting Moroccans in comments he made at an election rally in 2014. At the same time, however, the appeals court overturned Wilders’ conviction for inciting hatred or discrimination against Moroccans.”

    So it’s become an actual “crime” to insult a nebulous group as identified by their country of origin, while still not actually inciting any hatred or discrimination against them. Those judges are criminal morons.

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