Monday, February 14, 2011

Wilders trial fixed

Making all the appointments

Today the Amsterdam court ruled in the set-up of the resumed Wilders trial. There were two issues. One was the issue of the witnesses that Mr. Wilders had requested and another was that Justice Tom Schalken would be heard on his supper with witness Hans Jansen. This is the supper which caused Wilders' first trial session to be declared invalid and to be redone.

The matter of the 18 original witnesses.

Wilders had originally requested that 18 witnesses for the defense would be heard, amongst them Mohammed Bouyeri, the assassin of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh. 15 of the 18 witnesses were turned down in the first trial session. Well, the 15 witnesses were turned down again today by the new judge.

The matter of Justice Schalken

The first trial session was suspended when it turned out that one of the Justices who had ordered the trial of Wilders for hate speech, discrimination and racism had appeared to try to influence witness Hans Jansen. Mr. Wilders' defense had asked that Justice Tom Schalken would be heard as a witness. Also he asked for the host of the supper, Bertus Hendriks, to be heard as a witness. These requests were granted.

Conclusion, the trade-off

The score seems to be 1-1. One point for the prosecution and one for the defense of Wilders. My take is that the Court views this as a trade. They have sacrificed a smaller value for a bigger value. The smaller value is the reputation of the Judiciary. The court is willing to have some brother-judges to be humiliated and having the impartiality of the courts questioned. The bigger value to be protected is the protection of Islam. The 15 witnesses that Wilders' defense had asked for would have given the public the opportunity to learn about Islam as it is seen by its adherents. It would have exposed this political and expansionist ideology for what it is and was. The protection of Islam is so important for the court that they are willing to catch flak for it.

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