Today, in the 5th court session in the Wilders Trial, the prosecution has made its closing argument that began last Tuesday when the prosecutor asked for dismissal of all group offence charges. Today the prosecution developed its position on the hate crime and discrimination charges.
Like last Tuesday the prosecutions argument is again, complex and longwinded, but has some remarkable positions. For example, the prosecutor argues that truth is irrelevant. What’s relevant is the emotion the speaker generates. Does the speaker generate a hate emotion? Does the speaker divide society in two groups and does he warn against a dangerous conflict between those groups? The [thought] crime depends also on how tense the situation in society is.
Noteworthy is also an example of a discriminatory statement repeated several times by the prosecution: “We should ban all males from entering public buildings”. An illegal statement, according to the prosecution, if it were not so very unlikely to ever be implemented. Immediately one thinks about Wilders his remarks about wanting to ban all headscarves from all public buildings in The Netherlands.
In the Dutch system, the prosecution is much closer to the judge than in the American courts (he also sits next to the judge instead of opposite and besides the defendant). In the Dutch system he is expected to be a neutral defender of the law. But still the prosecution made some value statements about Wilders his opinions that were not legally relevant. The prosecution described some of Wilders his statements as unnuanced and dividing society, something they deemed not illegal though. But then again, what is to be expected from a prosecutor like Paul Velleman, it’s the same prosecutor who ordered the arrest of Islam critical cartoonist Nekschot.
Also amazing was that the prosecution recognizes that “it is functional to ban the Koran” because Wilders arguments are based on Koranic verses that promote violence. “Banning the Koran is a functional argument” even though the prosecution calls it rude.
Even more amazing might be called the position on violence promotion in the Koran. The prosecution said it does not agree with the translation in Fitna of a particular Koran verse. It did not agree with the expert witnesses either. The prosecution thought that the translation with the order “to terrorize the unbeliever” should be correctly translated as “to cause the unbeliever fear and distress”…
“The understandable hurt feelings of Muslims has not role in judging the criminality, but we have an eye for it.”
— prosecutor Birgit van Roessel
Today the prosecution ended with asking not guilty on all accounts: hate crime charges, discrimination charges and group offence charges (court orders prosecution). This does not mean it’s all over; the judge can still rule independently and decide otherwise. The defense argument is still very relevant, especially because this land mark trial will create important case law that could severely limit free speech in The Netherlands.
Wilder Free Speech Trial will continue next week:
Tuesday: Defense (13:00 CET)
Thursday: Defense continues (8:00 CET)
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