Judges have declared Dutch politican Geert Wilders not guilty in the long, and convoluted heresy trial.
The trial began last October, as the outspoken Wilder was charged with:
- Intentionally offending Muslims
- Inciting hatred against Muslims
- Inciting discrimination against Muslims
- Inciting hatred of non-western immigrants
The case was largely seen as a test of the limits of free speech, as Geert Wilders continues to speak out against what many perceive as the threat of Islam. Wilders, who has faced constant death threats for speaking out, has declared he is happy with the verdict.
Wilders had been accused of fomenting hate against Muslims. Wilders, 47, has called the Koran “fascist” and compared it to Hitler’s Mein Kampf, which is banned in the Netherlands. His film “Fitna,” which juxtaposes footage of Islamic terrorist attacks and warns of the dangers of Islamism, jettisoned him to international renown even before it was made: Dutch officials attempted to censor the movie, and protests against Wilders were held in a number of Muslim countries.
Wilders, who has faced constant death threats for speaking out, has declared he is happy with the verdict. The Islamic supremacist 'plaintiffs' say they are considering appealing this verdict to the European Court of Human Rights.
Wilders Acquittal May Signal the Turn of the Tide
by Amiel Ungar
The acquittal of the embattled Dutch politician Geert Wilders may mark the turn of the tide in terms of European permissiveness towards Islamist immigrants who would destroy Dutch culture from within.
One can say that the trial was a win-win situation for Wilders, as the prosecution itself believed that he should be acquitted and stated so. Obviously Wilders is correct in saying "an enormous burden has fallen from my shoulders." Even when one believes in one's innocence and is certain of vindication, the postion of defendant is an unpleasant one.
Wilders, however, received a good deal of compensation. First of all the trial was nationally televised, including Wilders' summation speech in which he compared himself to the Dutch martyrs and to Martin Luther's defiance of papal supremacy:
Every day the armoured cars [Wilders faces death threats from Moslems - ed.] drive me past the statue of Johan de Witt at the Hofvijver in The Hague. De Witt wrote the “Manifesto of True Freedom” and he paid for freedom with his life. Every day I go to my office through the Binnenhof where Johan van Oldenbarneveldt was beheaded after a political trial. Leaning on his stick the elderly Oldenbarneveldt addressed his last words to his people. He said: “I have acted honourably and piously as a good patriot.” Those words are also mine.
A major loser was the Dutch judiciary that overruled the prosecution and insisted that the trial proceed. The first panel of judges had to be replaced when they appeared to be tampering with witnesses in an attempt to secure a guilty verdict...
Read the rest here.