Many people — particularly on this side of the Atlantic — seem to be operating under the assumption that after yesterday’s startling events, Geert Wilders is out of the woods.
This is not at all true. Although the prosecutors in the hate speech case against Mr. Wilders have called for his acquittal, this is not a done deal. The Amsterdam judges are known to be blatantly anti-Wilders. They are well within their rights to convict him, and they may yet do so.
Our Dutch correspondent AF wrote to us this morning to emphasize the above facts:
Geert Wilders not free yet
The fact that the Public Prosecutor in the Netherlands recommended that Dutch politician Geert Wilders be acquitted of all charges on group defamation and incitement to hatred against Muslims does not imply that the Penal Court in Amsterdam is obliged to follow the Public Prosecutor’s advice, although the latter is the usual course of things.
Under the Dutch legal system the court can overrule the Public Prosecutor. In fact, this has already happened before. In 2008, the Public Prosecutor refused to charge Mr. Wilders, but was ordered to do so by the Amsterdam Court.
The Amsterdam Court will rule on the Wilders case on 5 November. Only then will we know whether Mr. Wilders will be acquitted or not. Nevertheless, last Friday’s recommendation by the Public Prosecutor that Mr. Wilders be acquitted is a major victory. Mr. Wilders has accused the court of being biased against him. A conviction by the court, despite the Public Prosecutor’s recommendation, will make it very difficult for anyone to deny that the court is biased against the politician.
It ain’t over till the fat lady sings. In this case, the corpulent chanteuse will warble on November 5th, the day the verdict is issued.