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The Netherlands

Dutch anti-Islam MP's trial adjourned

Reuters

The trial of anti-Islamic Dutch MP Geert Wilders was adjourned almost as soon as it opened on Monday, after his lawyers claimed that the judges were biased and demanded they be replaced.

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Lawyer Bram Moszkowicz issued a formal challenge to the make-up of the court after the chief judge had outlined the charges on five counts of religious hatred and discrimination which Wilders is facing.

A special court committee will announce a decision as to whether the challenge to the judges is justified on Tuesday.

After making an opening statement that he was defending free speech, Wilders refused to answer questions.

A series of statements deemed to be anti-Islamic were read out and the defendent was asked if the quotations were accurate and if he had approved them before publication. In each case, Wilders refused to answer.

The chief judge commented that he appeared to be avoiding the issue by opting not to answer questions.

Wilders's Freedom Party won 24 seats in the 150-seat lower house of parliament in June's election, leaving it demanding a voice in policy formation in return for not bringing the government down.
 

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