The trial of MP Geert Wilders on inciting hatred and discrimination charges will resume on February 3, judges in Amsterdam said on Wednesday.
Following yesterday’s initial hearing, judges will now decide who will be called as witnesses and on other procedural motions from both the prosecution and defence.
Wilders’ ended Wednesday’s session by stating that his defence rested not only on freedom of expression laws but the fact he is telling the truth. ‘Something that is true can’t be a criminal offence,’ he was quoted by Nos tv as saying. ‘This is why I ask [the court] to allow my expert witnesses to give testimony. I have to be able to defend myself. I have to be able to show I have spoken the truth.’
All eight other MPs from his anti-Islam party, the PVV, were among the public in court for the hearing. Some 300 supporters had also gathered outside the court building.
Wilders’ witness list includes university professors, radical imams and Mohammed Bouyeri, the man who murdered film maker Theo van Gogh.
Earlier, public prosecutor Birgit van Roessel told the court Wilders’ own testimony will take so long to be heard that he should be first questioned in private by an investigating judge.
Initial extensive questioning about all Wilders’ statements would place ‘a major burden’ on the court, she said. In addition, the hearing will take place in front of a large audience who may react to his statements, she said. So it must be asked if the hearing can take place ‘in the desired order and calm’, she told the court.
The prosecution is not planning to bring any witnesses to the trial, she said.
Wilders’ lawyer Bram Moszkowicz began his defence by calling on judges to halt the trial, arguing the public prosecution department had wrongly brought the case against the MP. He also called for the trial to be moved to the Hague, because that is where Wilders works.
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