Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Apparently the truth about Islam must remain a secret."

The freedom of speech trial of Dutch politician Geert Wilders reconvened today (February 3rd) in Amsterdam, but only long enough for the three presiding Judges to announce their rulings on defense motions concerning the witness list and also moving the trial's location, and also a prosecution motion concerning Wilders' testimony.

The judges rejected most of the 18 witnesses that Wilders has requested be called for his defense. The rejected witnesses include Mohammed Bouyeri, the convicted murderer of Theo van Gogh; Fawaz Jneid, imam at the Soennah Mosque in The Hague; and Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, chairman of the Guardian Council in Iran.

The judges also rejected 5 out of 8 requested expert witnesses on Islam, as well as two ex-Muslims whom Wilders had wished to call. The other three expert witnesses will be the only witnesses allowed for the defense, other than Wilders himself who will testify on his own behalf.

The three expert witnesses, however, will give their testimony behind closed doors. "Apparently the truth about Islam must remain a secret," was Wilders' public response to that ruling.

Wilders had also asked for the trial to be moved to The Hague, which is where he lives and where most of the statements that are the basis for his indictment were made. That motion was rejected by the court as well.

While rejecting 15 of the 18 witnesses requested by Wilders, and also the defense motion to move the trial, the judges did rule in favor of the defense against the prosecution's request that Wilders' own testimony should be given in secret. The prosecution claimed this was in the interest of "public order", while the defense demanded that Wilders be allowed to testify in open court, to which the judges agreed.

After the judges announced their rulings, the trial was adjourned "until further notice."

Geert Wilders: No Fair Trial
From Wilders own English language website

The Would-Be Witnesses
Profiles of all 18 witnesses Geert Wilders wished to call, by Baron Bodissey at the Gates of Vienna blog.

Geert Wilders doesn't get his way in court
story by John Tyler at Radio Netherlands Worldwide website

Court limits Wilders witness list
story at (no byline)

Amsterdam court to hear case against far-right MP Wilders
uk.reuters story, reporting by Harro ten Wolde; editing by David Stamp