Today was the ruling in the Wilders trial about a possible dismissal of the trial. Some people hoped the whole trial would be dismissed so The Netherlands would be spared this whole embarrassing anti Free speech trial. But the Dutch court ruled otherwise and rejected nearly all defense claims against the trial. The court only ruled in favor of a claim that the prosecutor did not get a mandate for prosecuting Wilders for his statement: "I don’t like the Koran ban that fascist book". But the court explicitly added to this ruling that the prosecution can prosecute Mr. Wilders for his Koran comparison with Mein Kampf. Also the court said it will make this a separate ruling that can be appealed (and therefor possibly opening the door for further trials against Mr. Wilders).
Directly after these rulings the court wanted, after a short recess, continue with the trial against Mr. Wilders. When the defense lawyer protested about this change in schedule, because he had other obligations, the court president just left the room during his protest saying: "we will see". After the short recess the court president claimed that this schedule was already send to the defense. Defense lawyer Moszkowicz was not amused and complained to the court that he thought it was amazing that the president of the court just walked out of a defense complained in such uncivilized way. The court declared they would continue without the defense lawyer and asked if Mr. Wilders would stay. Wilders declared he would stay, but only to hear the prosecutions plea. The matter resolved itself when the prosecution decided to only give a short vocal summery of its plea.
But the hostility of the court towards the defense showed again during the scheduling of the trial. When Moszkowicz requested a scheduling change to be able to prepare his defense, because the scheduling changes left him less than one day to prepare, the president of the court answered him that he also could work the night, adding that everybody knows how diligent he is.
The next trial day in the Wilders trial is now scheduled for April 13. Then the court will hear the witnesses Hans Jansen, Bertus Hendriks and judge Schalken about the infamous dinner party that lead to the downfall of the previous court because they refused hearing Mr. Jansen on this dinner. During the dinner judge Schalken, one of the judges who ordered this trial against Mr. Wilders, had tried to influence Hans Jansen only a day before his testimony in court as an expert witness.
Interesting news is that judge Schalken has let the court know, that he will be supported by a lawyer in order to protect his rights. His testimony has the potential to severely further undermine the legitimacy of the trial because Wilders has filed legal charges against Schalken. Imagine what will happen to the legitimacy of this trial, when the judge who ordered the trial against Mr. Wilders will now refuse to answer questions on grounds that can be perceived as protecting himself against self-incrimination.
The court decided that they will be hearing the witnesses in the following order: first Hans Jansen, then judge Schalken and last Bertus Hendriks who organized the dinner and is a friend of Schalken. The court will first ask questions, then the prosecution and at last the defense. But defense lawyer Moszkowicz protested against this arrangement, but did not provide details. He will provide these details of his protest in a writing letter to the court.
The prosecutor also protested. It protested against the speaking schedule of the plaintives. Under Dutch law the plaintives can speak at the end of a criminal trial in order to let the court know about their damages, so the court can include their compensation in the ruling. This arrangement avoids that victims need to start their own compensation trials, for compensations that are under Dutch law are very minimal. But unlike regular criminal trials, these plaintives at best only have hurt feelings and their compensation can only be a verdict in a trial they themselves have requested.
The court decided however, to schedule the hearing of the plaintives not at the end of the trial, but before the prosecution will held its plea. This is not how the law is intended argued the prosecutor, as the plaintives should not be part of the criminal trial. The court answered they were aware and they have made the decision deliberately. The defense stayed silent during this exchange between the court and the prosecution.
Latest court schedule:
April 13, 2011: Dinner witnesses hearing
April 15, 2011: Defense can respond to today’s ruling
May 2, 2011: Ruling on appeal
May 4, 2011: Trial dossier will be read by the court and plaintives will speak
May 23, 2011: plaintive Prakke will speak
Other trial days are still unscheduled
Geert Wilders @ twitter (March 30, 12:30):
"Ruling of Amsterdam court disappointing. Still convinced of acquittal. I will never remain silent: column about Mohammed in HP/De Tijd today"
HP/De Tijd today published an essay of Geert Wilders titled: Mohammed had brain disorder (NL). With the article Wilders want to start a debate about the true nature of prophet Mohammed and writes that Mohammed suffered from a brain tumor and was schizophrenic: "if a tumor in the pituitary gives over pressure on the brain, people see and hear thing that are not there". A claim that is supported by research psychologist Herman Somers who wrote the book: The Other Mohammed (1992) (Dutch title: De andere Mohammed).
Wilders hopes to reach out to Muslims worldwide by giving them insight and support into leaving Islam. Wilders: "Apostates are heroes. More than ever they deserve the support of all freedom loving people in the world. This is beyond party politics. It’s about time we help these people by unmasking Mohammed".
Paul Belien's Brussels Journal has just published the English version of the HP/De Tijd essay: "Time To Unmask Muhammad - by Geert Wilders"
See also: Wilders Trial day 13