Geert Wilders is back in court in the Netherlands.
The Islamic-critical leader of the Party for Freedom in was tried last fall for “inciting religious hatred”, but his case ended in a mistrial when Mr. Wilders’ lawyer revealed the sensational testimony from Prof. Hans Jansen, one of the three witnesses called for the defense. It turned out that one of the judges had invited Prof. Jansen to a dinner party before the trial began, and there allegedly attempted to influence the witness.
The mistrial did not end the case, unfortunately, and Geert Wilders returned to court in Amsterdam February 7th for his new trial. Here’s a brief account of the day’s events from Deutsche Welle:
The anti-Islam Dutch politician Geert Wilders appeared in court in Amsterdam on Monday on charges of inciting hatred towards Muslims, Moroccans and other non-Western groups in the Netherlands.
Wilders, one of the most powerful men in the Dutch parliament, told a panel of judges that he thinks he’s the victim of political persecution, saying they must drop the charges against him in order to protect free speech.
“Citizens who criticize Islam pay a bitter price. They are threatened, persecuted and criminalized,” Wilders told judges at a hearing that was meant to decide how the case would continue.
Wilders has repeatedly referred to Islam as a “fascist” faith, has likened the Koran to Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and is under 24-hour protection following death threats. The specific charges against the parliamentarian stem from comments made in his campaign “stop the Islamization of the Netherlands.” Wilders could face a 7,600 euro ($10,300) fine or up to a year in jail if found guilty.
Monday’s hearing was a procedural one, deciding how Wilders’ trial should progress. The initial trial was interrupted last October, after a judicial review ruled that the judges were not impartial.
Lawyers from both sides put their cases to the new judges, with Wilders’ lawyer calling for the trial to be moved to the Hague, so it could be better coordinated with the politician’s work in parliament.
Defense lawyer Bram Moszkowicz also wants the trial to restart from scratch and is lobbying for permission to call more Islamic experts as witnesses, some of whom were not allowed to testify last time around.
Moszkowicz told the judges that Wilders has never written or said anything disparaging about Muslims. Rather, the lawyer argued, his client had only ever criticized Islam and its holy text, the Koran, something which is not illegal under Dutch law.
The judges are due to decide on how the case should proceed next week.
Geert Wilders gave a stirring speech in court this afternoon. His words are not particular to his case or his country, but are universal. Many thanks to Vlaamse Leeuwin for the translation:
The lights are going out all over Europe. All over the continent where our culture flourished and where man created freedom, prosperity and civilization. The foundation of the West is under attack everywhere.
All over Europe the elites are acting as the protectors of an ideology that has been bent on destroying us for fourteen centuries. An ideology that has sprung from the desert and that can produce only deserts because it does not give people freedom. The Islamic Mozart, the Islamic Gerard Reve [a Dutch author], the Islamic Bill Gates; they do not exist because without freedom there is no creativity. The ideology of Islam is especially noted for killing and oppression and can only produce societies that are backward and impoverished. Surprisingly, the elites do not want to hear any criticism of this ideology.
My trial is not an isolated incident. Only fools believe it is. All over Europe multicultural elites are waging total war against their populations. Their goal is to continue the strategy of mass immigration, which will ultimately result in an Islamic Europe — a Europe without freedom: Eurabia.
The lights are going out all over Europe. Anyone who thinks or speaks individually is at risk. Freedom-loving citizens who criticize Islam, or even merely suggest that there is a relationship between Islam and crime or honour killing, must suffer, and are threatened or criminalized. Those who speak the truth are in danger.
The lights are going out allover Europe. Everywhere the Orwellian thought police are at work, on the lookout for thought crimes everywhere, casting the populace back within the confines where it is allowed to think.
This trial is not about me. It is about something much greater. Freedom of speech is not the property of those who happen to belong to the elites of a country. It is an inalienable right, the birthright of our people. For centuries battles have been fought for it, and now it is being sacrificed to please a totalitarian ideology.
Future generations will look back at this trial and wonder who was right. Who defended freedom and who wanted to get rid of it.
The lights are going out all over Europe. Our freedom is being restricted everywhere, so I repeat what I said here last year:
It is not only the privilege, but also the duty of free people — and hence also my duty as a member of the Dutch Parliament — to speak out against any ideology that threatens freedom. Hence it is a right and a duty to speak the truth about the evil ideology that is called Islam. I hope that freedom of speech will emerge triumphant from this trial. I hope not only that I shall be acquitted, but especially that freedom of speech will continue to exist in the Netherlands and in Europe.