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Dutch politician's faces new trial after judges dismissed

From Per Nyberg, CNN
  • Geert Wilders faces a new trial
  • Search for judges could take months
  • His film, "Fitna," drew many complaints

(CNN) -- The trial of a right-wing Dutch politician was temporarily canceled after three judges were dismissed for possible bias, a court official said.

Geert Wilders, who had been on trial for inciting hatred against Muslims, now faces a new proceeding.

"We now have to start the trial all over again. We don't know how long it will take but we have to plan for a whole new trial and find new judges which could take several months," Mercedes Grootscholten, spokeswoman for the Amsterdam district court, told CNN.

Wilders' defense attorney requested the cancellation when he was denied the opportunity to question an expert witness on the Arab world. In the Netherlands, the defense can request dismissals on the grounds of bias.

A review panel granted his request on Friday.

Wilders is on trial for inciting discrimination and hatred over a controversial film he made about Islam.

Wilders' film "Fitna," which he released online in March 2008 to international outcry, features disturbing images of terrorist acts superimposed over verses from the Quran in an apparent attempt to paint Islam as a threat to Western society.

It drew complaints from the European Union and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, as well as concern from the United States.

Comments Wilders made in a variety of media between 2006 and 2008 form part of the case against him.

Wilders has said he has done nothing wrong. If found guilty, he would face up to two years in prison and a fine of up to 19,000 euros ($26,000) for each charge.