Today the court ruled against the defense for dismissal of the court case (see official press release). In an earlier plea the defense had argued that the prosecutions case was so tainted it should be dismissed. The order to prosecute Mr. Wilders had not abided the golden rule of ‘presumption of innocence’ and one of the judges who wrote that order, Tom Schalken, had tried to influence defense witness Hans Jansen during a dinner only days before his court testimony.
But the court all rejected those claims. Although the court found the dinner inappropriate, it ruled that judge Schalken had not tried to influence the witness and that as the judge is not part of current proceedings, it’s of no influence for the current trial.
Directly after this ruling the trial against Mr. Wilders continued.
The defense had requested, like before, an integral reading of all testimonies, but the court rejected that request and instead gave summaries of the relevant deemed parts. By giving summaries instead of a more neutral reading, it’s gets relevant how the court makes those summaries.
Noteworthy was the behavior of court president Marcel van Oosten who made a summary of column Wilders wrote for Dutch blog geenstijl.nl. In the column Wilders wrote about how lucky we were that the battle of Vienna was won by the West on 11 September 1683. After giving his summery the judge deemed it necessary to comment that “everybody should know that Vienna thanks his excellent coffee to this”. So I guess, the judge thinks we all need to thank the Turks for trying to invade Europe, otherwise we had to miss out on those excellent Vienna coffee!
But unfortunately the courts knowledge about Islam does not go further than the Turkish coffee. When Judge Judith Boeree was summarizing the testimony of Arabist Hans Jansen she struggled to pronounce the name of the most influential modern Muslim writer Said Qutb. Just like the judge in the earlier fail trail against Mr. Wilders the judge could again not pronounce the name.
Besides Hans Jansen also a testimonies of Robert Spencer and others were summarized. Also videos were shown in court. They showed Fitna and two prerecorded question and answers with defense witnesses. One with Andrew G. Bostom who wrote the book “The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism” and an interview with Bill Warner who is known for his statistical text analysis of the Koran).
Noteworthy was also how the court handled the demands of the ‘aggrieved parties’. One of the judges read a list of statements attributed to Mr. Wilders according to a compilation of the aggrieved parties, but he did not read out the supposed to be source of these citations, thus making it very hard for the general public to verify those claims. The court also showed a video of a website criticizing Mr. Wilders, but the court had failed to provide the defense with a copy of the video. The video consisted of short edits of public remarks of Mr. Wilders, often statements he made in parliament. This way the court has now allowed statements giving in parliament to enter the court case although the prosecution could not do that because Dutch law prohibits it (Dutch law prohibits prosecution for any statements made in parliament).
Today’s morning session ended with a scheduling conflict between the court and the defense. The defense had notified the prosecution was unavailable next week and thus had not planned for trial days. But today it showed the court had rejected the prosecution’s request without informing the defense. The defense complained, but to no avail, the schedule stays as the court had not explicitly informed the defense of any scheduling changes.
Only when Mr. Wilders complained in the afternoon in person and told the court he had no time to prepare his closing plea the court reconsidered. Mr. Wilders had to remember the court that today there were elections for the senate (first chamber) and that tomorrow and Thursday he needs to be in parliament. Wednesday and Friday he has to be in court, thus scheduling his defense plea for coming Monday leaves him to little time to prepare his closing argument.
Now the court has allowed a reschedule, Wilders lawyer now can do his plea in the afternoon instead of the morning…
Official press release by the Amsterdam court:
Decisions of the Amsterdam district court of 23 May 2011 as regards the Wilders trial
Others about this trial day:
Gates of Vienna – The Farce Continues
Jihadwatch – Expert witness in Wilders trial
An essay by Wilder Trial expert witness Hans Jansen titled: “The Dutch will, from now on, have to live with unpredictable limitations of the freedom of speech”