As in the previous trial of Geert Wilders last year, the state prosecution office (Openbaar Ministerie, or OM) finds itself reluctant to recommend convicting the defendant on charges that obviously have no basis in law or justice. The prosecutors were compelled by the Amsterdam court to retry Mr. Wilders, but as of today they have decided he should be found not guilty of two of the charges against him — “incitement to hatred” and “insulting a group”.
No prosecutorial opinion on the remaining charge — “incitement to discrimination” — has been issued yet.
If I understand the Dutch justice system correctly, such statements by the prosecution do not bind the panel of judges in the case, who may ignore OM’s opinion and find the defendant guilty or not guilty as they see fit.
According to Dutch News:
Find Wilders Not Guilty of Inciting Hatred, Says Prosecution
The public prosecution department on Wednesday called for PVV leader Gert Wilders to be found not guilty of inciting hatred, as it tied up its case against the MP.
Prosecutors say Wilders’ remarks are critical of Islam which is not the same as inciting hatred against muslims themselves.
Earlier in the day the prosecutors said Wilders’ should be found not guilty of insulting a group because he has not stated any conclusions about muslims. Instead he has merely criticised their religion, the prosecutors said.
The decision to call on judges to find Wilders not guilty follows on from fact the department did not want to take the PVV leader to court in the first place.
However, it was forced to do so by the appeal court following protests from a number of ethnic minority groups.
The final charge against Wilders, incitement to discrimination, will be discussed later today.
Hat tip: C. Cantoni.