23 Oct 2010

Juges replaced in Wilders trial

9:32 am on 23 October 2010

Judges trying Dutch politician Geert Wilders on charges of inciting hatred against Muslims, are being replaced.

His lawyers had claimed that the judges had shown potential bias against a defence witness and they feared the judges were biased against their client.

The BBC reports that a legal process that began in January must now begin again with new judges. The trial itself started in October.

Mr Wilders, 47, faces five charges of inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims.

If found guilty, he faces a maximum sentence of one year in prison.

Under scrutiny in the trial are statements that Mr Wilders made between 2006 - 2008, including calling Islam "fascist" and likening the Koran to Hitler's book Mein Kampf.

The Freedom Party led by Mr Wilders is the third biggest in the Netherlands after elections in June.