Today defense lawyer Moszkowicz spoke in defense of Geert Wilders. His speech is very precise, detailed and technical, so I try to report noteworthy elements the best I can.
Moszkowicz opened with the words that he “defended a dissident, who would have thought that would happen in Netherlands in 2010…”. He also recalls other historical dissidents like Galileo, like Wilders he was also prosecuted for his opinions. He asks the question, was it true what Galileo said? Or was it like the prosecution claims, just an opinion were the truth remains an irrelevant fact? For the defense it’s relevant if something is true. The truer a statements is, the less it should be restricted in speech.
“So long as there is this book there will be no peace in the world”
— William Gladstone four times Prime Minister of Great Britain
The defense also counters the idea that Wilders is an extremist. For that respectable historical figures are cited. It becomes clear that William Gladstone, Winston Churchil and even Adam Smith have made very derogatory remarks about Islam, Muslims and the Koran.
But this trial is not initiated by the prosecution, it was ordered by a higher court on request of yesterday’s plaintives. This court however did not limit it selves to motivate the order for prosecution, it also deemed necessary to also explicitly claim that Wilders violated the law by writing: “Wilders his statements are punishable by the law”. This is of course a violation of the presumption of innocence as this court ruling was not the result of a criminal trial with a full defense; it was just the result of a hearing if there should be a trial. Thus at that moment Wilders was not even a suspect! The court rulings argumentation is full of examples like this, for example the fact that the higher court describes Wilders in its ruling as an Islamophobe (a statement for which no support is given). Moszkowicz argued that this last statement had no juridical basis or role in the rulling and can only be explained by the fact that the higher court could not control its own emotions about Geert Wilders.
If the court recognizes this presumption of the higher court who ordered the trial, there is no longer a legal basis for the whole trial. This would mean this is not a fair trial as in article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
In the afternoon the defense argued about Fitna. Fitna is published on LiveLeak, a foreign company. As can’t be determined were Mr. Wilders was on 27 March 2008, there is no proof given that the filed charges can be assumed to fall under Dutch law. According to the defense, LiveLeak must be seen as an American company form Arizona. This fact can’t be assumed to be by accident, as the United States as no other country in the world is a defender of free speech.
Also can’t Fitna be expected to be illegal in the United States of America, for this he recites the 1st amendment. He calls it a good example for The Netherlands.
The argumentation later in the afternoon becomes more complex and is even harder summarize. But the argumentation showed that not all text can be attributed to him that are used against Mr. Wilders. For example the titles from the articles were not Wilders his statements but made up by the newspapers. Also other statements were wrongly attributed to him as they were citations of other people.
What I found especially noteworthy was how the defense placed it all in context. “It can’t be that Wilders has to be inactive when he sees that others act and preach violence with the Koran in their hand”. It’s Wilders who warns against intolerance, intolerance against gay people and intolerance against woman. It’s him who is warning against hate mongering and discrimination. He shouldn’t be the one who one is prosecuted.
Remember also that in name of Islam, courts, not this court, not Dutch courts either, but Islamic courts have already sentenced him to the dead penalty. It’s Wilders who is attacked and limited in his freedom (and not the other way around). Let this be the context in which the court judges his statements.
Thursday October 21, 9:00 the trial continues.
Others about this trial day:
Dutchnews.nl: Wilders has already been found guilty
Expatica: “do not blame messanger”
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