Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Opening Salvos

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Here are two more translations by VH about the opening of the Geert Wilders trial. First, from De Telegraaf:

Wilders Trial has begun

AMSTERDAM — The Public Prosecutor (OM) has no right to prosecute PVV-leader Geert Wilders because the court should not have ordered the OM to bring charges of Wilders to the court. Bram Moszkowicz, Wilders lawyer, made this claim Wednesday morning at the beginning of the directional session in the criminal proceedings against the politician. The OM should therefore be declared inadmissible.

Because Wilders as a member of Parliament enjoys a specific immunity, the Supreme Council should have studied the demands of third parties to prosecute his client, as Moszkowicz noted. Not the Amsterdam Court.

Such protection is not for nothing, as Moszkowicz said: “A lawmaker should be able to express his concerns about developments in society. That is why this protection is valid for Wilders. If Wilders had not been in parliament, he would not have made the statements for which he is on trial now.”

Also, according to Moszkowicz, the court has no jurisdiction to conduct the trial against Wilders. Wilders works and lives in The Hague. Therefore the case should be addressed by the court in The Hague.

Moreover, the expressions, at least parts of them, were made in the Hague region, and also made in media that appear across the country. “What is the connection to Amsterdam?”
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The prosecution and the court in Amsterdam find themselves indeed competent to prosecute Wilders for insult and discrimination against Muslims and inciting to hatred, as prosecutor Birgit van Roessel responded (the other prosecutor is Paul Velleman).

The statements of the PVV leader had their effect in all of the Netherlands, including Amsterdam. Therefore, the OM has jurisdiction to prosecute Wilders and the court in Amsterdam to handle this case, the prosecutor concluded. “Moreover, Amsterdam citizens have filed charges against by Wilders.”

Brigit van Roessel further said that the OM remained within the prosecution order of the Amsterdam Court [they did extend it though, but that extension was only accepted on January 13 — translator]. The case against Geert Wilders, according to her, may therefore continue in Amsterdam.

It is not clear when the court will decide on the request of Moszkowicz to abort the trial. That may possibly come later in the day, as the chairman of the court, Jan Moors, let it be known.

The court said at the beginning of the hearing against Wilders that the judges are neutral towards his case. This was in response to media reports that according to Wilders it is a political process. “We will only judge after the last word has been said in this case,” the chairman of court said Wednesday.

During this directional meeting, no substantive matters were discussed, rather the session was to bring the court, the Public Prosecutor (OM), and the defense into agreement on the proceedings of the trial.

A large part of the parliamentarian fraction of the PVV was in the public gallery to support the political leader. The politician himself is not aware of any blame. “I have done nothing wrong,” he said Tuesday. He finds that “the truth” about Islam must be spoken. Even if it is painful and embarrassing for some people, said Wilders.

Wilders and his lawyer Bram Moszkowicz want to call as witnesses fifteen to twenty experts from home and abroad. They all are specialists in the fields of freedom of speech and Islamic scholarship, but also radical Muslims and imams. The PVV leader says that they can confirm that he speaks the truth about Islam.

The hearing of the witnesses “is essential to my defense,” said Wilders. If the court blocks that, there is no question of a fair trial. Wilders insists that it is a political process, partly because he is prosecuted as a politician for expressing an opinion.

And from Elsevier (12:35pm local time):

First results Wilders Trial: small victory for Prosecutor

The Public Prosecutor [Openbaar Ministrie, OM] scored a small victory in the trial against PVV leader Geert Wilders. Wilders’ lawyer, Bram Moszkowicz, wanted the Prosecutor to read out the whole, eighteen pages long, summons. This the court did not find necessary.

It was deemed sufficient for the Prosecutor to read out a summary of the subpoena, which still took over half an hour. The reading of the entire subpoena would certainly have taken an hour and a half.

Also, the Prosecutor swept aside the argument Bram Moszkowicz made that Wilders actually should appear before the Supreme Council. Moszkowicz argued that the indictment is tantamount to abuse of office by an MP, an offense according to the law should be dealt with by the Supreme Court. The judge did not agree with this.

Wilders’ lawyer also argued that the Amsterdam Court is not competent to prosecute Wilders, because the PVV leader lives and works in The Hague. Probably also this objection will be rejected, but the judge will rule on that later in the process.


Anonymous said...

Considering other things that have come out of the Netherlands in the last few years, including possible involuntary euthanasia, Geert Wilders will probably be pilloried and freedom will have been irretrivably lost in the Netherlands.

Thrasymachus said...

Here is the video in Dutch.