In a ruling rendered yesterday, the district court of Amsterdam held that the victims in the second criminal case against Dutch politician Geert Wilders ('Wilders II') were indeed eligible for subsidized legal aid. The Dutch Legal Aid Board (in Dutch: Raad voor de Rechtsbijstand) - the administrative organ that decides on legal aid in the Netherlands - had originally refused to allocate legal aid to the victims in this case. According to the Board, the nature of the case lacked the complexity to justify legal aid for the victims.

Lawyers Tom de Boer and Göran Sluiter filed an appeal against that decision with the District Court of Amsterdam, which subsequently ruled in their favor.

The court found that Wilders II was so complex, that the victims could not be expected to conduct the case without professional legal assistance. Moreover, the court saw a risk that the victims, as individual citizens, would become 'mangled' in a criminal case that, in terms of the amount of criminal complaints and injured party claims, was of such exceptional magnitude as Wilders II.

The verdict was rendered within the context of a test case, but it will be leading with regard to the other injured parties in this case. The verdict is also relevant with a view to the upcoming appeal in Wilders II, in which the victims may join the procedure as injured parties again.

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