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Dutch court: Populist anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders guilty of hate speech

Amsterdam: A Dutch court today convicted populist anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders of hate speech charges at the end of a trial he branded a politically motivated “charade” that endangered freedom of speech.

Presiding Judge Hendrik Steenhuis said the court would not impose a sentence on Wilders, saying that the conviction was punishment enough for a democratically elected lawmaker.

Wilders was not in court for the verdict that came just over three months before national elections. Wilders’ Party for Freedom is currently narrowly leading a nationwide poll of polls and has risen in popularity during the trial.

Even before the hearing, Wilders vowed not to let a conviction muzzle him.

“Whatever the verdict, I will continue to speak the truth about the Moroccan problem, and no judge, politician or terrorist will stop me,” he tweeted shortly before the verdict.

PTI