Populist Dutch MP Geert Wilders remained unapologetic as his hate speech trial drew to a close on Wednesday, saying “millions of Dutch citizens will be convicted with me” if he is found guilty.

Wilders, 53, who had previously shunned hearings held at a high-security courthouse near Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, addressed a three-judge bench at the end of the three-week trial which will formally be closed on Friday.

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Time For Truth: (Yahoo News) – Wilders unapologetic as Dutch hate speech trial ends

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Anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders can be tried on charges of inciting racial hatred, a court in The Hague ruled on Friday, setting the stage for a politically charged test of freedom of speech laws in the Netherlands.

Judge Hendrik Steenhuis dismissed Wilders’ lawyers arguments that he was being singled out, saying prosecutors have broad leeway in determining when they think someone has crossed the line from offensive speech to discriminatory speech.

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Time For Truth: (Reuters) – Dutch politician Wilders will face trial on charges of inciting racial hatred

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A Dutch court on Friday upheld hate speech charges against anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders, meaning his trial will now start later this month.

“The court rejects all the defence’s objections,” judge Hendrik Steenhuis told The Hague district court.

Wilders’ lawyers last month urged judges at a preliminary hearing to drop the charges against the far-right leader, slamming it as a “political case” ahead of elections due in March.

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Time For Truth: (Yahoo News) – Dutch court upholds hate speech case against far-right MP Geert Wilders

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In a case that will test the limits of Dutch freedom of expression, firebrand lawmaker Geert Wilders appeared in court Friday for the first public hearing in a hate speech prosecution.

The pretrial hearing at a tightly guarded courtroom on the edge of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport comes with Wilders’ anti-Islam Freedom Party standing atop opinion polls a year ahead of Dutch parliamentary elections and with anti-immigrant sentiment rising across Europe.

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