Public prosecutors have ‘invited’ PVV leader Geert Wilders for questioning in connection with remarks he made about Moroccans last year and consider him to be a formal suspect, the department said on Thursday.
The department said in a statement Wilders is ‘suspected of having insulted a population group with respect to their race and of incitement to discrimination and hatred’.
The investigation goes back to the local elections last March. During a post vote meeting with supporters in The Hague, Wilders asked the crowd ‘and do you want more or fewer Moroccans in your city and in the Netherlands?’ To which the crowd chanted ‘fewer, fewer, fewer’.
‘We’ll arrange that,’ Wilders said, smiling, when the chanting died down.
The chanting, and other comments made several days earlier, led to two MPs, MEPs and a handful of local and provincial councillors breaking ties with the PVV. The public prosecution department also received over 6,400 complaints.
The decision to question Wilders does not necessarily mean a criminal prosecution will follow but it ‘stands to reason’ that will happen, the department’s statement said.
In June 2011, Wilders was found not guilty of charges of inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims and non-westerm immigrants by judges in Amsterdam.
The court ruled that some of Wilders’ statements were insulting, shocking and on the edge of legal acceptibility, but that they were made in the broad context of a political and social debate on the multi-cultural society.
In a reaction, Wilders said the decision to formally question him is ‘scandalous’. ‘At a time when the world is in flames, the public prosecutor targets a representative of the people who states what the problems are,’ Wilders said.