Wilders Trial – Day 1

Geert Wilders before court of Jan Moors

Today, was the 1st real trial day in the prosecution of Geert Wilders and his opinions. The event is broadcasted live on Dutch national television:

The first amazing thing was that the court wanted to show Fitna in court. That means that for the first time, Fitna will be broadcasted on Dutch national television.

The second surprise was that at the start of the trial, Wilders’ lawyer unexpectedly said Wilders would invoke his right not to answer questions, as his lawyer had advised.

His lawyer also asked the court to allow Wilders to make a brief 2 minute statement to explain this decision. During the short statement Wilders defended free speech and ended with legendary words:

I think all there is to say has been said.
I have said everything that I have said, and I will not take back one word.
Which does not mean I have said all the things attributed to me.

Then came the next interesting development in the trial. The president of the court, Jan Moorse, thought he needed to make a value judgment regarding Geert Wilders’ legal right to remain silent. Judge Moorse:

“I still value it to say something about it, Mr. Wilders. The court has read the files, but the court also read newspapers and watches television these days. You have been accused by others of being good at stating an position but unwilling to debate it. It looks as if you’re doing the same thing today.”

Jan Moors repeats political smear against Geert Wilders as if they are facts.

The court then decided to ask Mr. Wilders all the questions they had planned to ask, about statements attributed to him — without expecting him to answer. For each statement attributed to him they asked questions, often each time the same type of questions: “Do you still stand behind these?”, “Did you say them spontaneous?”, “Did you ask a lawyer’s advice before doing them?”, “What was you’re intention in saying it?” and “Was it really necessary to say it like that?”.

Then after a short break Wilders’ lawyer filed a complaint against judge Jan Moorse’s earlier value judgment regarding Wilders invoking his right not to speak. Wilders and his lawyer found fault with that reaction, because it’s a basic right of the accused. All accused have the right not to answer questions at their trial. It’s a right that can’t be challenged. Wilders’ lawyer said that the statement was irrelevant, otherwise it also could be interpreted as prejudices against defendant Wilders. He then requested a court substitution (Dutch: ‘wraking‘), a disqualification of the court on grounds it was no longer beyond dispute that the court was without prejudice against Mr. Wilders.

Wrakings kamer in Wilders trial

The ‘wrakings kamer’ (disqualification court) then was called to make a ruling on the possible disqualification (Dutch: wraking) of the trial court. The trial court plead not guilty but in a written statement in its defence it misquoted its own remarks by leaving out the explicit value statement. After both the prosecutor and Wilders’ lawyer made statements, Geert Wilders was allowed to make a closing statement in which he said he did not consider the judges independent and able to conduct a fair trail. He told the substitute court (‘wrakings kamer’) that the court’s behaviour was more like that of his political opponents of D66 in parliament than of an in dependent court (it’s a known fact that many Dutch judges are affiliate with D66).

The substitute court did convene but apparently they could not reach a conclusion and thus they have delayed the ruling until tomorrow 14.00.

Update:
Geert Wilders has asked parliament to reschedule the vote for tomorrow as needs to be in court tomorrow and thus can’t attend the Tuesday vote. At is request the regular trial days are scheduled on non-voting days. But the disqualification court ignored that arrangement and continues tomorrow. It’s yet unclear if parliament will grant his request. Parliament granted the request (although the SP (former Marxist) oppose it now for the next trial day.

See also:
Judge Schalken (blog post Hans Jansen)
Breaking: Judges in Wilders trial DISMISSED
Wilders Trial – Day 8
Wilders Trial – Day 7
Wilders Trial – Day 6
Wilders Trial – Day 5
Wilders Trial – Day 4
Wilders Trial – Day 3
Wilders Trial – Day 3: Testimony of Arabist Simon Admiraal on Islam
Wildert Trial – Day 3: Testimony of Wafa Sultan on Islam
Wilders Trial – Day 2
Justice minister Hirsch Ballin directing prosecution of Geert Wilders
Trial day 1: Evidence given by Arabist Prof. Hans Jansen (Gov)
Wilder Trial – Day 1
Wilders trial: Court rejects 15 out of 18 witnesses for the defence
Breaking: Geert Wilders on trial January 20th 2010
Breaking: Court orders prosecution of Wilders

Other coverage:
Bloomberg: Dutch Anti-Islamic Politician Wilders Opposes Judges In Race-Hate Trial
Irish Times: Trial of Dutch MP adjourned
AFP: Dutch anti-Islam MP Wilders’ hate speech trial opens

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