Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tabled Until February 3rd

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Here are two more articles about the Geert Wilders trial, translated by our Flemish correspondent VH. The first is about Mr. Wilders’ opening remarks. Significantly, the trial has been postponed until February 3rd.

Note: we have in hand the full translated transcript of Wilders’ opening statement. A subtitled video will be available in due course, Vlad willing.

From Elsevier:

“My statements are tough, but not reckless”

by Robin van der Kloor

The Wilders Trial has been postponed until February 3. The PVV leader himself spoke on the first day of the trial. “Are my statements true?” Wilders asked aloud. “If something is true, it cannot be punishable though? […] “I need to be allowed to defend myself, I must prove that I have spoken the truth,” the politician said.

“I have nothing against Muslims. I have something against the Islam, because it is contrary to freedom.” Wilders said this at the end of the first day of the trial against him conducted by the Public Prosecutor.

“I believe with all my heart and soul that our freedom is being threatened. It is no longer a given fact, no longer self-evident,” Wilders said, who added that he has dedicated his life to defending freedom, and for that has made significant personal sacrifices. Wilders did acknowledge that his words are sometimes tough, but not “reckless”.

The direction hearing today mainly concerned making preparations for the “real” trial. To that end, Wilders and his lawyer Bram Moszkowicz have called Mohammed Bouyeri and some ayatollahs [two Iranian ayatollahs according to]. The Public Prosecutor (OM) though is opposed to the hearing of the “experience witness” Bouyeri, the murderer of Theo van Gogh.

According to prosecutor Paul Velleman, it is “common knowledge” what Bouyeri thinks. During his trial for the murder of Van Gogh, committed on November 2, 2004, he spoke of his ideas and repeated them as a witness in the trial against the Hofstad group.

According to Velleman, Bouyeri often makes “rather confused” declarations and from his person “no authority can be derived”.

The case against the PVV leader will continue February 3.

And from Elsevier:
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Prosecutor: Wilders must be interrogated by investigating judge

by Maartje Willems

The prosecution wants PVV leader Geert Wilders to be extensively interrogated by an investigating judge, to lay a foundation for the continuation of the trial.

Wilders is the only one the prosecutor in the case wants to hear as a witness, the prosecutor Birgit van Roessel said today during the trial. The hearing of the politician by an investigating judge should take place outside the courtroom, in a private meeting.

The prosecution believes that an interrogation of Wilders in the courtroom would take too much time. Wilders will be heard in the dozens of statements that the Prosecutor has included in the indictment.

Wilders then may have the right to extend and add to his declarations with an investigating judge in court, said Van Roessel.

The prosecution has deliberately decided not to demand that Wilders be interrogated by the police, given the legal complexity of the case. A judge is better equipped to that.

The officer concluded her speech by expressing the wish that “we can say afterwards, whatever the outcome, that Wilders has had a fair trial.”

At the beginning of the hearing today, Wilders’ lawyer Bram Moszkowicz tried to have the Public Prosecutors read out the full eighteen pages summons, but the court decided that was not needed.