Our Dutch correspondent H. Numan has been keeping up with the progress of the trial of Geert Wilders. Below is his initial overview of the case.
The kangaroo trial in progress
by H. Numan
I will not speak of a fair trial against Geert Wilders, but only refer to the kangaroo trial. It is not a fair trial at all. The verdict has yet to be announced, but will in all likelihood be guilty.
Why call this kangaroo trial a kangaroo trial? Judge for yourself:
- Minister Hirsch Ballin, one of the most outspoken opponents of Geert Wilders, was highly in favor of such a trial.
- The presiding kangaroo Mr. J. W. Moors made some biased remarks when Wilders claimed the right to remain silent.
- The kangaroo heading the appeal chamber, Mr. Frans Bauduin, is a member of the board of the Dutch Morocco Fund.
- The defense asked for 18 witnesses. The court allowed only three.
- The trial has been set for 7 days. This is unusually long for a court case in the Netherlands. Even a case like this.
- The verdict will be announced on the day that Theo van Gogh was murdered. Nice touch, eh?
In any other court case where the judge makes a snide remark to the defense, the case is either dismissed outright, or the judge relieved of the case. It doesn’t happen very often, though.
But in this case, the snide remark was even acknowledged by the appeal court. They considered it to be ‘a somewhat clumsy remark’. Which in itself is an admission of guilt… nevertheless, the appeal court rejected the appeal.
Not really surprising considering the hobby of Mr. Bauduin. His hobby, supporting Moroccans, is somewhat relevant in this case, don’t you agree?
We don’t know yet what the verdict will be. Personally, I doubt if this will harm Wilders or the PVV in any way. Look at it in a positive light: no matter what verdict the court reaches, it will work in the advantage of Wilders and the PVV. Most people in The Netherlands are convinced this is a kangaroo trial. Only left-wing diehards and Mohammedans are not.
This case, no matter what verdict is reached, will demolish any impression the Dutch themselves have about a non-biased juridical system. That impression is at the moment not good at all. There has been a judge who sentenced while drunk on the job (for twelve years, no less; this judge was dismissed for alcoholism). The trials this drunken alcoholic judge decided in are not to be reopened…
Another judge was dismissed for beating his wife. Yet another judge was found to be in possession of child pornography and dismissed. His peers considered this enough punishment as it was. That you and I should get off so easily!
And more, and more.
What will the verdict be? We don’t know that. I doubt if the judges know it right now. They willfully opened a very nasty can of worms. Public opinion is very much in favor of Wilders. Upon conviction he will very likely win another ten to fifteen seats simply because of this kangaroo trial.
So the court does not have all that many options.
|1.||They can set him free. As they themselves, against the advice of the district attorney, initiated this case, an immense loss of face.|
|2.||They can pronounce him guilty, but without further sentence. Or under the legal amount where an appeal is possible. This is exactly the same: an immense loss of face. But it will set a precedent to be used in the near future.|
|3.||They can sentence him to the maximum, but what purpose will that serve? In that case, democracy is as dead as a dodo in The Netherlands. It means that every politician is legally liable for every remark he makes, on and off the record, no matter where he makes those remarks. A very dangerous precedent, because that can just as well be used against left-wing politicians too.|
To summarize: an appointed magistrate who is responsible to no one is going to judge an elected politician who is responsible to the parliament.
It can’t get much worse than this.