Dutch politician Geert Wilders has been given leave to challenge the ‘hate crime’ charges being brought against him because of his criticism of Islam.
Mr Wilders initially went on trial for inciting hatred and discrimination last year, but the trial collapsed after the judges were deemed to be biased against the politician.
Now a new panel of judges has been convened and Mr Wilders’ lawyer will restate the objections he raised at the start of the initial trial.
If his arguments are successful the case against the controversial politician “will be closed”, according to one of the judges.
Mr Wilders is being charged with inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims and other non-Western groups.
He is accused of saying that Islam is fascist and of comparing the Koran to Hitler’s book, Mein Kampf.
But Mr Wilders has always maintained that he is targeting Islam not individual Muslims.
Bram Moszkowicz, Mr Wilders’ lawyer, warned that the case against the politician was being motivated by his political adversaries.
Mr Wilders’ lawyer is due to restate his opening remarks on 14 March, and the prosecution will respond two days later.
During the initial trial prosecutors drew attention to Mr Wilders’ 17-minute film, “Fitna”.
The film features quotations from the Koran interspersed with footage of terrorist atrocities and speeches by Muslim preachers.
It was screened in the British Parliament last year. The screening was due to take place a year earlier, but Mr Wilders was initially banned by the Home Office from entering the UK.
The Dutchman is the leader of the Freedom Party, the third largest party in the Dutch parliament, which supports the Dutch government without being in the ruling coalition.