The four professors (left to right): Ellian, Zwart, Sackers and De Roos (image printscreen De Pers)
The trial of Geert Wilders is about to reconvene, and although the proceedings are pre-cooked — “railroading” is probably too mild a term for what is being done to Mr. Wilders — some of the most prominent legal scholars in the Netherlands have spoken out against the case.
Our Flemish correspondent VH has translated an article on the topic from Elsevier:
Law scholars want Geert Wilders acquitted
Four law scholars are strongly opposed to the prosecution Geert Wilders being prosecuted for hate speech. Thus, in their opinion, the PVV leader must be acquitted. “This prosecution does not befit a civilized country.”
So says Tom Zwart, Professor of Human Rights at the Utrecht University, in an interview with the free newspaper De Pers.
Tom Zwart is backed by three other law scholars: Theo de Roos, Professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure at the University of Tilburg; Henny Sackers, Professor of Administrative Sanctions Law at Radboud University in Nijmegen, and Elsevier blogger Afshin Ellian, Professor of Social Cohesion, Citizenship and Multiculturalism at the Leiden University.
The four professors believe that the prosecution should never have taken place, and plead — now that he has to appear in court — for acquittal. The trial against Wilders will resume next month.
Theo de Roos: “What I have a big problem with is that the ruling of the Court does not judge the one-liners of Wilders in their context. If you do, you can see he has a consistent story about protecting Dutch culture against Islam. You may find that evil or ridiculous, but it is a contribution to the public debate. “
“What do you say now with those proceedings to all those people who voted for the PVV? Actually you say they must also be put behind bars,” Tom Zwart says.
The four interviewees were to have been called as witnesses by Wilders, but the judges ruled otherwise. They consider themselves to have “learned enough” and a sufficient number of articles by others.
By giving an interview, they hope to still be able to exert influence on the criminal court. “We may among ourselves think differently about the content of Wilders’ statements, but we are looking at this as law scholars. And it comes down to this: you do not have to agree with what Wilders says, to find that he may say that,” Afshin Ellian says.
Wilders must answer a charge of hate speech in court. He is accused of insulting Muslims and ethnic minorities and incitement to discrimination and hatred.
Initially the Public Prosecutor (OM) in Amsterdam did not want to prosecute the politician, because he made those statements in newspapers and on the internet as part of the public debate.
The court in Amsterdam, however, thought differently, and saw possible offenses in Wilders’ remarks about Islam. The proceedings for a judgment of fact were started by the anti-racism Club “Netherlands Admits Color”, headed by René Danen [the extreme left agitator — translator].
The project of accusing Wilders of “inciting” anything is futile and stupid.
Were I a judge, I’d laugh it out of court.
Hate Speech laws are a direct assault on Free Speech, and not just any Speech, but Political Speech.
They always were. They are legal enforcement of Political Correctness via our Criminal Justice Systems.
This trial is a disaster for the powers that be, and they know it. The public prosecutor didn’t want too do it in the first place and was forced into it by the “Netherlands Admits Color” The foolish prosecution by these imbeciles has backfired in there face, it was a risky strategy from the first. They had a chance when his party had only 9 seat in the Parliament and could still be classed as extremist, and would have been a dead cert, when he was a one man band. Now it is main stream and any judgment against Wilders will be also seen as a judgment against the party followers the ones who voted for Wilders. I was talking about it in my local pub here in Limburg Sunday, all were in agreement that the whole thing is a farce, mind you this is Wilders country. A successful prosecution will be a home goal, and they know it, all that matters is how they get off the hook and save face.
What worries me more is that these Political Blasphemy laws are on the statute books. The Hate speech laws are particulary obnoxious and dangerous. When I was studying electrical engineering many years ago, I was always taught that if you can’t measure anything you can’t define it. This means that any abstract phenomenon cannot really be defined, and hate is nothing more than a name we give to try and explain an abstract emotion. Poets for years have tried to define love, but they have never succeeded if they could measure it in pounds liters or yards we would not be able to read the poetry of Keats or Shakespeare because the controversy would have been settled centuries ago. The emotion of hate is just like the emotion of love it exists only in the eye of the beholder. If somebody accused me of hate against Islam, I would be completely in my rights to say that I don’t hate Islam but that I have a profound contempt for the religion, and who and how can they prove me wrong, simply because the definition of hate is subjective, and not objective. This is what makes these laws so dangerous in a politically motivated judiciary. They get to play God and define the world in there own image. Who of them can resist the temptation, hubris would guarantee it. The quicker these laws disappear the better it will be for all of us.
I have seen the opening statement of Wilders in his trial on Youtube. Excellent speech – he sounded like the prosecuting attorney !
The trial can only help Geert Wilders to gain new supporters as the charges of ‘hate’ are absurd. Just compare them to unprosecuted public advocacy of the islamists for his head.