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Twitter admits temporarily suspending Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders

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By Euronews
Geert Wilders has previously been cited by Twitter over his comments on the platform.
Geert Wilders has previously been cited by Twitter over his comments on the platform.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Patrick Post, File

Twitter says it suspended Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders "in error" after reports that he had violated the platform's rules on hate speech.

The social network admitted it had "temporarily restricted" Wilders' access to his account on Monday.

The move came after the Freedom Party (PVV) chairman had published a tweet addressed to Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, denouncing the "violence of the intolerant ideology called Islam".

Wilders had also claimed that the Pakistani citizens who have sent him death threats are "inspired by the fake prophet Mohammad".

The MP told Dutch media that has appealed the decision and refused to remove posts from his account. His Twitter profile was previously blocked in 2019 after he was accused of sowing online hatred.

Twitter has confirmed that it took "enforcement action" against the account "in error" and that access has since been restored.

"It is our top priority to keep everyone who uses Twitter safe and free from abuse," a spokesperson said.

"We continue to enforce our rules judiciously and impartially for all accounts that engage in behaviours that violate the Twitter Rules in line with our range of enforcement options."

The far-right party leader -- who lives under surveillance -- says he has frequently received threats since he called for a ban on Islam in the Netherlands and the closure of mosques.

In 2020, a Dutch appeals court upheld his conviction for insulting Moroccans in comments he made in 2014, although he was also acquitted of inciting discrimination.

Turkish prosecutors have also investigated Wilders over "insulting" tweets about President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The far-right PVV is currently the third-largest party in the country after winning 17 seats at the last Dutch general election in 2021.

Additional sources • EFE