Friday, April 15, 2011

Tragedy or Farce?

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The second Geert Wilders trial is well underway, and the case has taken some interesting twists. History is not exactly repeating itself this time, since the retrial is focusing on the alleged judicial misconduct of one of the panel judges in the first trial. The testimony of Hans Jansen about the behavior of Tom Schalken at a now-notorious dinner party has caused a sensation in the Dutch press.

Today’s antics included the testimony of Bertus Hendriks, the host of the dinner party. His contradiction of Hans Jansen generated a brief rumor in the press about a possible perjury charge against Mr. Hendriks, as will be explained below.

Witnesses in the Wilders case

Our Dutch correspondent H. Numan has translated two articles about today’s developments. The first article, from De Telegraaf, concerns the final testimony by Prof. Jansen, and is followed by the translator’s commentary:

Third Act in ‘dinner interrogations’ Wilders case

AMSTERDAM — The Amsterdam court witnessed the third act about the now-sensational dinner at which both Arabist Hans Jansen and Tom Schalken, DA of Amsterdam, were present. The third witness was the host of the evening, Bertus Hendriks.

Schalken and Hendriks belonged to a regular ‘dining club’, in which current political and social problems were discussed. Jansen was invited on 3 May [2010] as a guest. Three days later he had to appear as an expert witness for the defense at the magistrates’ court, to be questioned. Schalken was the DA who prosecuted Wilders on behalf of the court.

Jansen stated he was influenced by Schalken, who denies this. Both were heard as witnesses under oath on Wednesday. It is possible the testimony of Hendriks can end this stalemate.

For Wilders’ attorney Bram Moszkowicz, the dinner perils probably comprise a reason to ask for a dismissal of the case.

H. Numan comments: “Eight bottles? I can’t remember that!”

Commentary by H. Numan:

Update: There was some earlier confusion about the commentary below. H. Numan did not write it himself, but translated it from Geen Stijl:

Finished your espresso? Time for Court TV live from the Court of Amsterdam! Last Wednesday Mosko embarrassed DA Schalken, making him red behind the ears several times during an epic interrogation as a witness. ‘Red’ as in: ‘several thousand shades of red’, that is.

Today it’s Bertus Hendriks, Middle East expertologist’s turn to fail to remember whether this boozy dinner was intended to intimidate Hans Jansen or not. The latter is supposed to have contradicted himself already. Mosko will have to go full steam to get the case on the right track once more.

Of course the professional nutcase Jeroen de Kreek is emphatically invited by the court of Amsterdam to be present.

I’d like to remark that Bert Hendriks is a very old diehard extreme left-wing activist. He began his activities as a communist agitator at the University in Amsterdam, was heavily involved in the Maagdenhuis riots in 1968, and never stopped after that.

I really think this witness is one who will happily lie under oath, if that would promote “the cause”. His cause is Stalinist communism. Make no mistake about that.

Jeroen de Kreek is a nutcase indeed; he would probably have been institutionalized in most other countries. Google him, and watch the clips on Dumptert, Geen Stijl. He should not have been allowed to enter as a complainant, not even in a straitjacket.

This character was sending twitter messages to Wilders on Wednesday: “I’m sitting 10 meters behind you Wilders! A short distance to kill you!” And more of the same. In a real democracy and in a real court, he would have been removed immediately, to be prosecuted as soon as possible afterwards.

Luckily for him, the Netherlands is, regrettably, anything but a democracy and this court is anything but real. Unless we are talking about a kangaroo court, of course.

The second article, also translated by H. Numan, is about the testimony of Mr. Hendriks, who not unexpectedly contradicted Prof. Jansen

Note: The URL of the original for this article was not included. I’ll add it later when it comes in:

Witness is utterly surprised by the dinner hearings

AMSTERDAM — Bertus Hendriks, the host of the much discussed dinner with Hans Jansen and Tom Schalken was ‘utterly surprised’ when he heard the statements made by both men. On Friday Hendriks told the court that both statements are incorrect. “I thought: they made this up on the spot,” said Hendriks about the remarks and accusations of Jansen that the DA wanted to convince him his decision to prosecute Wilders was the right one.

Jansen stated he felt very uncomfortable because Schalken wouldn’t stop trying to convince him about the trial and his appearance as an expert witness in that trial. “Apparently, more dinners took place” according to Hendriks. Whether or not Schalken carried part of the decision to prosecute he did not know.

Hendriks did agree that Jansen appeared very nervous when he noticed Schalken was invited as well. “I saw him stiffen up.” Several times he had to be assured he would not run the risk of being arrested for his opinions and statements, according to Hendriks. Jansen’s first reaction when he heard Schalken was also invited was to leave immediately.

During dinner, everybody was relaxed — but not Schalken. According to Hendriks, Schalken was excited by the “aggressive and personal attacks made by Jansen”. Only later on did Schalken join in the conversation. “The thawing of Schalken was much slower than the thawing of Jansen.”

Moreover, Hendriks stated that when he invited Jansen, he told him one of the guests would be the one who co-wrote the court decision to prosecute Wilders. “But apparently he didn’t realize that.” Arabist Jansen was, according to Hendriks, truly surprised by the presence and position of Schalken. The host was shocked because Jansen was quite serious when he said concerning the DA “that man can arrest me if he feels like it.”

After the testimony by Bertus Hendriks, a rumor that he would be charged with perjury was published on the De Telegraaf website, only to disappear shortly afterwards. H. Numan sends this final note:

The news flows very fast: the article on De Telegraaf‘s site has been changed. The court does not see any reason to charge Hendriks (a comrade of high reputation, solidly reliable chap for Marx and Mo) with perjury.

Stay tuned: the farce will reconvene next week.


Lawrence said...

From my perspective, this whole trial and retrial of Wilders is a farce from beginning to end.

Blogger said...

Rather than a dismissal based on inappropriate judge and witness interactions, l am still hoping to see a dismissal based on the victory of free speech against a threatening ideology.

Professor L said...

Several times he had to be assured he would not run the risk of being arrested for his opinions and statements, according to Hendriks.

That he needs to be assured at all gives lie to their assurances.

vicspain said...

Hitler's judges would have been proud of these unbelievable people.