Geert Wilders’ trial on inciting hatred charges in Amsterdam took a new twist on Friday after it emerged another court official may have tried to pressure one of the defence witnesses.
The allegations, in De Pers newspaper, led Wilders’ lawyer Bram Moszkowicz to again ask for the judges to be dismissed because they refused to rule on whether the witness should be recalled.
Wilders broke his silence to call personally for new judges. The trial is ‘a great big mess’, Wilders told the special panel considering the request.
The newspaper report focused on a dinner attended by Hans Jansen, a retired professor of Arabic studies, which was also attended by 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 Wilders to court.
During the dinner, Schalken tried to ‘convince me of the correctness of his decision to take Wilders to court,’ Jansen told the paper.
The judge’s behaviour was ‘ill-manned and unprofessional,’ Jansen was quoted as saying by Nos tv.
Friday is supposed to be the last day of hearings. Moszkowicz told the court on Thursday the MP’s controversial statements are part of the right to free speech and the public debate.
The public prosecution department, which was forced to to take the case by the appeal court last year, has also said the MP should be found not guilty on all charges.
The judges will give their verdict on November 5.
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