Oddly, there doesn't seem to be any news on any proceedings in the Geert Wilders trial for today, February 4, neither at Gates of Vienna, nor at the Wilders on Trial website. Stunning development: the Wilders trial has been adjourned for four months--correction: for up to nine months.Snouck: I mailed Mr. Auster as follows:
The court has requested Mr. Geert Wilders to provide verhinderdata (can't-make-it-dates) from the three witnesses whom he's been permitted to call. The trial will resume in June if I am not mistaken. My notes say three to four months from now.LA replies:
See how considerate and reasonable those who-have-been-appointed-over-us are, you cowboys?
Thanks for this information, which is entirely unexpected. I had no idea that the trial, which began less than two days ago, was about to adjourn for four months. I thought that the January 20 session had been a preliminary, procedural session, and that the trial proper had begun on February 3, as various sites including VFR reported on February 3. Everyone was geared up for the big event, which now we learn won't take place until the summer, if then. I can't imagine why this basic information was not reported or mentioned at any of the interested websites. And, by the way, what basis do we have for criticizing the American media's non-coverage of the trial, when the trial won't begin until June?LA continues:
If there had to be a delay of four months in order to schedule the testimony of three witnesses, then it would not be unreasonable to suppose that if all of Wilders's eighteen proposed witnesses had been accepted, there would have been a delay of twenty-four months. A distant observer may be forgiven for thinking that the Wilders trial is shaping up to be the Dutch equivalent of the interminable case of Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce, in Charles Dickens's Bleak House.
I've asked Snouck where he got the information that the trial had been adjourned until June, since I see no hint of that at any of the sites that are linked here.Snouck writes:
This information was provided in the hearing. The full hearing in Dutch was put on the internet by the NOS (Dutch State Broadcasting) here at the end. I have not seen a full transcript in Dutch or English.LA replies:
However, I made a mistake. Apologies. I listened to the last part of the hearing again and the trial will take place between 1st of June and 31 October. Not in June. The exact date will depend on the availability of the witnesses.
Unbelievable. So it will take place in June at the earliest.Snouck replies:
Did the court give a reason for this enormous delay? Since when does it take up to nine months (from February 3 to October 31) to schedule the appearance of a a couple of witnesses at a trial? And if it takes this long to find a time when three witnesses can appear together, then a trial with 20 or 30 witnesses would take years.
And were the parties to the trial surprised by this announcement of the judges? Didn't they think that the trial had begun and was not about to be adjourned for between four and nine months?
And why do you think that neither the news services nor the Wilders website reported this information?
Also, when did the judges make this announcement? On Wednesday the third, or on Thursday the fourth?
The announcement was made in the hearing on Wednesday the third. It was published on TV by the NOS and on the NOS website.Snouck continues:
I am embarrassing myself. It is NOT in June the earliest. It is between 1st of July and 31 October.LA replies:
The reason given is that one of the scientists (Wafa Sultan) has to come from a foreign country.
Mr. Wilders was angry about something. I do not think it is the delay though. He mentioned to the press his anger over the turning down of his requests for witnesses and experts. He said the Court does not want to hear the truth.
Other facts. The court says the trial will take five days when it will be held. Mr. Wilders may request more time. The Court might grant the request. Some part of it will be heard by a Rechter-Commissaris, a Court functionary. I do not fully grasp why or what that implies. Also the Court has yet to take decision on the status of the experts Mrs. Sultan, Mr. Jansen and Mr. Admiraal. Right now they call the experts "scientists."
I do not know why the website of Mr. Wilders did not post the information. They seem to be posting mostly video. The PVV (Freedom Party) organisation is quite small and underfunded. I can speculate they are hard pressed to provide transcripts and translations.
Today is the fifth. The trial began on the third. I am dumbfounded that none of the reports about the first day of the trial--which were posted on the third--mentioned the adjournment.Paul Belien writes:
In any case, now we now why, as I pointed out in an earlier entry, there was no news about the second day of the trial. There WAS no second day of the trial. But, notwithstanding all the attention that was focused on the trial, no one had told us that.
As I said in my previous email: court cases being adjourned for several months (sometimes years) is not unusual in Europe.LA replies:
Europeans have waiting lists when they want to see the doctor, and they have to wait when they want to see a judge.
My guess is that in order to avoid Wilders electorally benefiting from a conviction, the Dutch establishment will try to delay the verdict until after the next general elections. The elections are due in June 2011 at the latest, but the general expectation is that they will take place this Fall.
Ok, but this still doesn't explain why this information was not reported anywhere. Not at Wilders's site. Not at GoV. Not in any news media source. It's surreal.Paul Belien replies:
And then the news only comes from a Dutch blogger who saw the Dutch TV broadcast of the trial and wrote to me about it, a day and a half after the various reports on the first day of the trial had been posted.
We were all treating with great importance, and got into a pitch of intensity about, this historic and fateful trial that was starting. And now it turns out that it's not starting at all, and may not start for another nine months.
It was not reported because Europeans consider this to be normal. That is how courts work over here: as soon as it suits the court, they will send Wilders a message telling him when to come to court again. It may be next June, It may be next October, who knows.LA replies:
(And GoV did not report it because they translate info which they get from Europe.)
You get annoyed and frustrated, but that is what the authorities hope to achieve: they want to get you so annoyed and frustrated that you just give up.
Yes, your explanation of the authorities' modus operandi makes sense.Paul Belien writes:
But that still doesn't explain why Wilders's site did not report this. Wilders's supporters in America and England and elsewhere were closely following the trial. Didn't Wilders's staff think that this was slightly important information to tell us?
You say this is surreal. Of course it is surreal. The whole Wilders trial is surreal.Paul Belien writes:
Want to live the surreal? Come and live in Europe.
"German homeschoolers get political asylum in the U.S."
Wilders, too, will have to apply for asylum in the U.S. one day.
One more thing: the court also said that the witnesses will be heard behind closed doors.LA replies:
Did they give a reason for this?Paul Belien replies:
Something I noticed watching and listening to the judge is that he appears scared or intimidated. He pays attention to the non-verbal reactions of Geert Wilders. I think he is part intimidated by Mr. Wilders and perhaps partly does not agree with some decisions he reads out.
And I agree with Mr. Paul Belien. Europeans see nothing unusual in the long wait, because we are used to them. That is one of the reasons why the wait was not reported.