Posted on May 3, 2011

Final Remarks by Geert Wilders at His Trial in Amsterdam, May 2nd, 2011

Geert Wilders,, May 2, 2011

Mister President, members of the Court. I recently tried to have Your Honors removed from the case for your refusal to register a statement of perjury against Mr. Hendriks. My challenge of the court did not succeed. I must accept that. I do wish to say, however, that I was more annoyed by another declaration of the President of the Court on the day of the official hearing of Mr. Jansen. He said that I was a free man, that I could not be compared to Mr. Nekschot because I was a free man.

Mister President, you could not be more wrong. For almost seven years now, I have not been a free man. I lost my freedom in 2004. I live as a prisoner with guards without you having convicted me. Without protection I am even less certain of my life than I am now. Mister President, you would not use the words “free man” if you could change places with me for one week.

Mister President, members of the court, I am here as a suspect again today. I have said so before: This penal case is a political trial. An attempt is being made here to silence a politician who speaks on behalf of one and a half million people and who already pays a heavy price for that every single day. Formally, only I stand on trial here, but in practice the freedom of speech of millions of Dutchmen is on trial.

This trial is not merely a political trial. It is also an unjust trial. When you look at the order of the court (to prosecute me) it is clear that the verdict has already been passed. The court has issued an order to prosecute me in which it concludes that I am guilty of incitement to hatred. The court has concluded that my statements as such are of an insulting nature. The court has concluded that I am guilty of the most serious charge: the incitement to hatred and discrimination. The court has concluded that it expects that the criminal prosecution will indeed lead to a conviction. Mister President, members of the court, the court has already done your job. Long before I was brought to trial before you, I was found guilty and was condemned. Hence my right to a just trial has been violated.

Alas, this is but the tip of the iceberg. Without any doubt, the judges who presided this case have conveyed a semblance of partiality. I have been denied 15 of the 18 witnesses whom I wanted to call. Every high representative of the judicial power has given his view on this case, and often to my disadvantage. But Counselor Schalken was the worst.

Counselor Schalken, who co-authored the decision to prosecute me, makes a habit of discussing my trial and arguing his case at elegant dinner parties for intellectuals. Counselor Schalken dined with my witness, Mr Jansen–note that he was one of the only three witnesses whom I was allowed to call–three days before Mr. Jansen was to be interrogated by the court. During this dinner Mr. Schalken TRIED to influence Mr Jansen. The fact that he did not succeed is irrelevant.

Mr. President, members of the court, stop this unfair, political trial. Respect our Dutch freedoms. If this trial continues, despite the fact that the principle of the presumption of innocence has been violated, and if I am convicted, not only my freedom will be infringed, but also the right of all Dutch people to hear the truth. The 19th century black American politician Frederick Douglass, the son of a slave, put it as follows: “To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.”

Mr. President, members of the court, I end with a quote of George Washington, who said: “If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” Mr. President, members of the court, do not let this warning become reality. Stop this charade, this political trial where I have already been convicted by the court even before I was a suspect. Stop it now. If you do so, and I passionately hope you will, this will benefit freedom of speech as well as the respectability of the judicial power and the rule of law.


The underlying controversy started around 2007; Wilders, the leader of (now) the third largest political party in the Dutch parliament, made several statements in the press that many considered insulting or hateful. Most of the statements were directed towards Islam and the Koran, but some were also about Muslims in general. The movie “Fitna” added to the rage against Wilders. All this, however, was not ground for trying Wilders, according to the public prosecutor. {snip}

By Dutch law, only the public prosecutor can bring someone to trial to enforce the penal code. So if the public prosecutor does not pursue a case, there often won’t be a trial. However, if the Dutch people deeply disagree with this, they can ask the court of appeal to compel the public prosecutor to bring an individual before the court. This in fact happened around February 2009, when the court of appeal ruled that the public prosecutor had to bring Wilders to trial.

{snip} Wilders did not believe that the three judges he had before him were impartial, and requested new judges twice. A panel of three judges decided on such a request; the first time it was denied, the second time it was granted. This was at the end of 2010, and the result was that a new panel of judges had to completely redo the trial, {snip}.

{snip} This is most of all a discussion between Dutch and European law; Dutch law expressly prohibits the insulting of a religion, while European law frames the conduct as a violation of the freedom of religion.

{snip} By Dutch law, a politician can say or write anything inside the parliament building, where he has functional immunity. Outside the parliament building, this immunity does not exist. However, the idea of the immunity is that people in parliament have to be able to say whatever they feel is necessary for the country; it makes sense to apply this principle in “the outside world” as well, especially in the context of a very relevant public debate.

Most Dutch jurists are predicting that Wilders will not be found guilty, and even the public prosecutor has admitted this from the very start. Wilders has claimed that the trial is mostly politically motivated, and this appears to be true. His ideas have captured both support and fervent opposition, including death threats made against him.

About one thing, there is no doubt. Wilders will not stop what he has started. His second Fitna movie is coming out shortly, and his political party keeps expanding; the trial has only added to his party’s growth. {snip}