Dutch prosecutors decided not to press charges against far-right Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders for an anti-Islamic documentary, considering that the statements were made "in the context of public debate".
Dutch prosecutors said Monday that an anti-Islamic documentary produced by far-right Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, though offensive to Muslims, did not give rise to a punishable offence.
After announcing they would not press charges against Wilders for utterances in the film and in subsequent statements to the press, prosecutors said they would dismiss dozens of complaints received from around the country.
"Several of the utterances are indeed offensive about Muslims but were made in the context of public debate," the prosecutors' statement said.
"In public debate, statements can be shocking, sharp or offensive, but that does not make it punishable."
Wilders' 17-minute documentary "Fitna", released on the Internet in March, has been condemned by Muslim countries like Malaysia and Singapore as well as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
Wilders, 44, has denied any responsibility for the repercussions of his film. As head of the Freedom Party, which has nine seats in the Dutch parliament, he has called for the banning of the Koran in the Netherlands, calling it "fascist."
He reacted to Monday's announcement by saying he was not surprised.
"I knew from the start that I was acting within the framework of Dutch law," he was quoted as saying by Dutch news agency ANP.
Date created : 2008-06-30