Europe

Dutch MP Geert Wilders back in court over 'hate speech'

Dutch MP Geert Wilders in court (courtesy Dutch TV)
Image caption Mr Wilders' Freedom Party came third in parliamentary elections in June 2010

Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders has returned to court in Amsterdam to face trial for inciting hatred, before a new set of judges.

The trial was put on hold in October when an independent appeals panel upheld a complaint about the judges' handling of the process.

Mr Wilders' lawyer told Monday's hearing that the trial should start completely from scratch.

He wanted evidence from Islamic experts which the court rejected last year.

The case against Mr Wilders refers to comments made in 2006 and 2008 in which he called Islam "fascist" and compared the Koran to Hitler's book Mein Kampf.

He is accused of inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims, Moroccans and other groups.

During the initial trial, Mr Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party which came third in June 2010 elections, had accused the court of denying him a fair hearing.

He was prevented from calling a number of witnesses on Islam, including a convicted killer, Mohammed Bouyeri, who murdered film-maker Theo van Gogh. Mr Wilders argued that Bouyeri was "living proof" that Islam inspired violence.

The process eventually collapsed when an appeals panel said that Mr Wilders' fear of bias from the first trial judges was "understandable" because they did not approve a request for further expert testimony from Dutch academic Hans Jansen.

More on this story