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Jan 20

Written by: Diana West
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 9:03 AM 

From an RNW account of the first day of the trial:

Mr Wilders' attorney, the well-known criminal defence lawyer Bram Moszkowicz, asked the court to have the entire writ against his client read out in court. The panel of three judges said it was unnecessary, but did instruct the prosecutor to read out Mr Wilders' statements on which the case is based.
After the statements had been read, the senior judge had the following exchange with the defendant (translated): 
Judge: "Mr Wilders, I can see that you are listening very intently, but what are you feeling right now? I cannot sense any emotion in you whatsoever."

Feeling right now? Emotion whatsoever?

What is this, a court proceeding or an encounter session? "The senior judge" on an Amsterdam court, or a spirit guide on a shamanic journey? It's hard to imagine a less appropriate and more weird question coming from the bench.

Then there's the wacky prosecution. The Times of London notes an aspect of the Wilders defense:

Mr Wilders has always made his statements in his capacity as a public representative," Mr Moszkowicz said, arguing that the Amsterdam court was the wrong arena and that the Supreme Court in The Hague was the place to hear allegations of misconduct by an MP.

But Birgit van Roessel, for the prosecution, countered that "expressing his opinion in the media or through other channels is not part of an MP's duties." She said that MPs only had immunity for what they said inside parliament.

Get that? The prosecution is arguing that "expressing his opinion" -- addressing the citizenry! -- isn't part of the duties of a democratically elected office-holder.

It would be funny if it weren't so grim.


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