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Dutch Court Says Lawmaker Hate Speech Trial To Continue

Geert Wilders
An Amsterdam court today ordered the continuation of a hate speech trial against lawmaker Geert Wilders -- an anti-immigrant politician who has compared Islam to fascism and called for a ban on the Holy Koran.

Wilders, whose Freedom Party is propping up an all-conservative minority cabinet, is accused of making discriminatory remarks on the basis of race and inciting hatred against Muslims.

Wilders denies wrongdoing, saying his comments are part of a legitimate political debate. Opponents say Wilders' remarks have led to increased discrimination against Muslims in The Netherlands.

Judge Marcel van Oosten today rejected calls by Wilders' lawyers to dismiss the case or move it to The Hague. The defense argued that prosecutors went beyond the scope of their case, and that the Amsterdam court was the wrong venue.

The judge said some of Wilders' most potentially offensive remarks were made or published in Amsterdam.

compiled from agency reports