Today was the 16th trial day in the Wilders trial. Unfortunately I was not able to see last Wednesdays proceeding with the testimonies of Hans Jansen en Judge Schalken about that infamous dinner that caused the earlier Wilders trial to collapse. Because during the dinner judge Schalken, the judge who ordered the Wilders trial, tried to convince Hans Jansen about the rightfulness of his order during a dinner just days before Hans Jansen himself had to testify in that trial (see: Judge Schalken).
Today, on the sole request of the court, dinner organizer Bertus Hendriks, a well-known leftist Palestinian activist, took the stand. In his testimony Hendriks described Hans Jansen his testimony about Schalken and his overbearingly behavior when he tried to convince Hans Jansen as hogwash. He has seen no such thing that evening, apparently Hans Jansen had visited another dinner that he had. Claiming Hans Jansen had made it all up. And it was not Schalken who intimidated Jansen. It was rather the other way around; it was Hans Jansen who had intimidated the judge. While Hans Jansen was having a good time at the diner, it was Hendriks his friend Schalken that was silent for nearly the whole first half of the evening, still shocked by the events at the start of the dinner. Because when Schalken had arrived and was introduced to Mr. Hans Jansen as the judge who ordered the prosecution of Geert Wilders, Hans Jansen had said he wanted to leave and did not want to talk about Islam if he could be arrested and prosecuted by this judge. But after lots of talk and the promise that he would receive immunity, Jansen agreed to stay.
Hendriks claimed that in The Netherlands nobody has to be fear for expressing his views and thus Hans Jansen must have some sort of problem and must be paranoid with his wild claims about witch trials, Eurabia, Soviet trials and his complaints about the Dutch judicial system. After Hendriks kept repeating that Hans Jansen was paranoid, defense lawyer Moszkowicz complained to the witness that Wilders was really sitting right next to him and that that was certainly not a paranoid delusion. But that dismayed the court, the president of the court insisted that Mr. Wilders was sitting there as a free man. Apparently the judge thought Wilders was free to visit his 16 trial days and counting, free to participate in the uncountable more preparation days, and also that having a 24 hour security detail, just to stay alive was not taking away his freedom.
Thus Bertus Hendriks can be best described as a hostile witness to Mr. Wilders, but he made good on that by being very talkative and making all kinds of interesting (unasked for) remarks. For example, he did not only claim that Mr. Hans Jansen made an incorrect testimony, according to him also judge Schalken made false claims. It started with the number of bottles of wine judge Schalken claimed to have been served during dinner: 6 bottles. Not true says Hendriks. Also the fact that Schalken acknowledged of bring papers with the court ruling of the Wilders trial was incorrect, clearly this was the result of long questioning of judge Schalken. Hendriks had seen no papers, this was just not true. But then again, he also described himself as a close friend of Schalken, such a close friend that he would never tell anything that would make him look bad, by that implying he would lie about facts, if he was not under oath.
BTW this is a part of Wednesday testimony exchange between judge Schalken and Moskowicz (NL):
Moskowicz: Did you have it (the court ruling of the Wilders trial) with you during the dinner?
Moskowicz: Not even a part?
Schalken: hmmmmmm…No, I don’t think so?
Moskowicz: Didn’t you take something out of your pocket during the dinner?
Schalken: hmmmmmm… No, well, I don’t know.
Moskowicz: Didn’t you read parts of the court ruling?
Schalken: Oh, yes, I did indeed.
Schalken: I brought it with me?
Moskowicz: What did you bring with you?
Schalken: Parts of the court ruling?
Moskowicz: What parts?
Schalken: The parts were we said that the comparison between fascism and Islam are not covered by the group offence article.
Moskowicz: Why that part?
Schalken: Because there are many misunderstandings about the court order and this part would interest Jansen.
Hendriks also declared that after Hans Jansen published his blog article that he had sent around an e-mail in which he described the evening so that all remembered the events correctly (amazingly no further questioning followed on this point). Hendrix also described conversations between other Vertigo members, they all agreed about the rudeness of Mr. Jansen of publishing about events that they all had agreed upon to keep private (although Mr. Jansen claimed never to have committed to such thing). Judge Schalken even complained to Mr. Hendriks of being not angrier about what Jansen had done.
There were also new facts around the nature of dinner club. The Vertigo dinner club has always been portrayed as a dinner club who invited mystery guests and who just happened to have invited arabist Hans Jansen as one of their guest. But as it turns out, Hans Jansen was just the second dinner guest in the 8 year history of the dinner club and believe it or not, that other guest was also about the Wilders trial.
The first and only other mystery guest of the dinner club was Paul Scheffer who was invited by judge . He is a known publicist and prominent PvdA (socialist party) member. Scheffer wanted to debate judge Schalken on his court order that ordered the prosecution of Mr. Wilders. Schalken agreed on the dinner discussion on the condition that the entire dinner group would read the complete ruling he and his co-judges had written.
This of course put a whole new light on the reason why Hans Jansen was invited to the dinner party. But according to Bertus Hendriks they just wanted to talk about Islam in The Netherlands and not about the court case. Hans Jansen was just invited because he was a known authority on Islam who had contrarian opinions compared to the groups. The talkative Hendriks had already defined his difference with Mr. Jansen on his own initiative at the beginning of today’s trial:
I’m more a people person and Hans Jansen is more a theology/book person. For example if people go to the mosque every day and thus hear every day the Koranic verse that describes the unbelievers as the enemy that you are at war with, Hans Jansen claims this must have some sort of effect, I beg to differ, I say people are different.
When I write mr. Hendriks was talkative, I actually meant the first part of the trial day, as that was when the court questioned him. Or questioning is not really the right word, they were just letting the witness flow; they didn’t ask too many critical questions and did not really focused on inconsistencies. That all changed when Moszkowicz started his interrogation of the witness.
After Hendriks again repeatedly claimed that Hans Jansen was just invited because they talked about Islam in The Netherlands and that it had nothing to do with the trial, defense lawyer Moszkowicz confronts him with statements he made earlier in the press in which he claims Hans Jansen was invited because he was interesting because he was a witness in the trial. To the dismay of the judges Moszkowicz warned Bertus Hendriks he was under oath. And after Hendriks kept claiming that both his statements were true, the defense lawyer requested a perjury inquiry.
Unfortunately I was not able to follow the afternoon developments, but the court decided to reject Moszkowicz his perjury inquiry on grounds that let Mr. Moszkowicz the impression of a possible prejudiced court, and thus he again requested a disqualification of the court. The disqualification court will rule Monday April 18, 2011.