Geert Wilders 'hate' trial to go ahead in Amsterdam

Geert Wilders (30 March 2011)
Image caption Mr Wilders has actively campaigned for a halt to the "Islamisation" of the Netherlands

The trial of Dutch political leader Geert Wilders on charges of inciting hatred against Muslims is to go ahead, an Amsterdam court has ruled.

Mr Wilders, whose Freedom Party props up the government, had argued the court could not try the case as the alleged offences took place in The Hague.

He insists his remarks on Islam were part of a legitimate political debate.

An original trial was halted last October after claims of bias by Mr Wilders against the judges were upheld.

Mr Wilders has described Islam as "fascist", comparing the Koran to Hitler's Mein Kampf.

In his ruling on Wednesday, Judge Marcel van Oosten said the court would pursue the charges against him for the comparisons he had made with Nazism, according to Dutch media.

But he dropped a complaint referring to Mr Wilders' statement: "I've had enough of Islam in the Netherlands - ban that fascist book."

The judge said that an Amsterdam court was well within its right to judge the case as the alleged offences had "also been committed within the jurisdiction of Amsterdam".

The trial was adjourned until 13 April, when three experts on Islam and the Middle East will be called to give evidence.

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