The injured parties in the Geert Wilders trial were allowed their day in court today. They spoke up about the damage that Mr. Wilders had done to them by his “hostility” and “insults”. One of them referred to the defendant as a “little Hitler”.
Our Flemish correspondent VH has translated a couple of articles from the Dutch press about the day’s events, and includes his own commentary.
First, from De Telegraaf:
Messy session with the aggrieved parties
[October 18, 2010] Due to Wilders, the Netherlands has become more hostile towards immigrants, according to those who filed complaints against to the PVV leader. These complainants are the aggrieved parties in the Wilders trial, which means that they think they have been harmed by statements made by the politician.
The day’s session was messy this Monday, because the lawyers who spoke on behalf of their principals often overstepped the rules. Aggrieved parties in a criminal case may explain the damage they have suffered at the hands of a suspect. They cannot say that they think a defendant should be sentenced, or how the court should decide. They also are not allowed discuss procedures of the Public Prosecutor (OM).
Finally, the lawyers for various migrant organizations all at one or more times overstepped the rules. Ties Prakken (who took the floor on behalf of groups that include The Netherlands Admits Color and the National Moroccan Council) was not allowed by the court to read part of her story, and was on the point of taking the word of lawyer Nico Steijnen of the ‘Movement for the Restoration of Respect’. Also Mohammed Enait, the lawyer who was previously discredited because he refuses to rise when judges enter the courtroom, was corrected. He read a quote in which Wilders was mentioned as a ‘little Hitler’.
The aggrieved parties are very disappointed that the OM has asked for acquittal for Wilders. They put their hopes on the court, which will decide on the matter on November 5.
The 24-year-old law student Naoual and former (GreenLeft) MP (and Moroccan immigrant) Muhammad Rabbae also said their piece in the courtroom. Naoual said she suddenly has to be accountable for things that Wilders associates with Islam. The “insulting, polarizing and inflammatory language” used by Wilders, according to her, has “set the tone for an intolerant Netherlands”.
Rabbae finds that Wilders consciously nurtures hatred towards Moroccans. Moroccans themselves bear the consequences of the incitement by Wilders. With emotion he said that he heard about children who are afraid that they will be expelled from the country. He also wondered how the country will be governed once an “anti-Jewish Wilders” stands up. “Might that one also be the way Wilders is now with Muslims?”
Direct and indirect references to the hatred of Jews in Nazi Germany appeared in almost all argumentations on behalf of the injured parties. Wilders remained virtually unmoved by it.
VH adds this comment:
Naïveté and an upside-down world rule the arguments of the injured parties. Their grievance does not involve the Dutch population, which through the centuries has always been very tolerant. It is the result of the excesses committed by non-Western immigrants, and their own lack of this particular virtue: tolerance.
Next, from Elsevier:
Lawyer Mohammed Enait calls Wilders ‘little Hitler’
by Marlou Visser
[October 18, 2010] The judges repeatedly had to call to order the speakers for the aggrieved parties in the lawsuit against Geert Wilders. Lawyer Mohammed Enait often went too far, and was stopped because he called Wilders ‘a little Hitler’.
In addition, plaintiffs’ lawyer [Nico] Steijnen, who stands by Rabbae, did not respect the rules of the court Steijnen began a sentence with “it’s clear to everyone, except apparently to some parts of the judiciary …” Then judge Marc van der Nat decided to temporarily suspend him. The lawyers may not criticize the OM, which has asked for acquittal.
“Is that man deaf ?” asked Geert Wilders’ lawyer, Bram Moszkowicz, who wondered aloud after the lawyer Steijnen was reprimanded for the third time. The court also had to ask the lawyer several times to get to the point.
The lawyers for the aggrieved parties may make a plea on Monday for why Wilders should have to pay them compensation. The victims ask for symbolic damages of one euro.
Pestman, the first speaker, said “that the OM demanded acquittal is not surprising; it is so, however, where this happens with dry eyes.” This earned him his first rebuke from the judge.