Geert Wilders trial faces restart after judges dismissed

The trial of Geert Wilders on charges of inciting racial hatred against Muslims will have begin all over again after the controversial Dutch anti-Islam politician won an appeal to have his judges sacked for bias.

Bruno Waterfield
Telegraph [UK]
22 October 2010

A Dutch court ruled in favour of a request by Mr Wilders’ defence lawyer to have new trial judges installed after allegations of improper conduct by a member of a judicial appeals panel directly involved in the case.

“This gives me a new chance of a new fair trial. I am confident that I can only be acquitted because I have broken no law, but spoken the truth,” he said.

Mr Wilders, 47, went on trial on October 4 for inciting hatred by describing Islam as Nazism and for comparing the “fascist” Koran to Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”, which is banned in the Netherlands.
The charges were laid before Dutch elections last June returned Mr Wilders’ Freedom Party as the third largest in the country’s parliament.

He and his party’s 23 other MPs have lent their support to a minority Dutch conservative government in return for key policy concessions, such as a burka ban and new curbs on immigration.

His trial took a new twist on Friday after allegations emerged that a judge may have tried to pressure one of the defence witnesses.

The claims led Mr Wilders to make a second appeal for the trial judges to be dismissed after they refused to recall the witness to the court.

De Pers newspaper, disclosed that the witness, Hans Jansen, a retired professor of Arabic studies, had attended a dinner in the company of an Amsterdam appeal court judge.

The judge, Tom Schalken, was part of the court which in January 2009 ruled the public prosecution department should take Mr Wilders to court.

The article continues at the Telegraph.

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