Trial against Dutch anti-Islam MP collapses

The trial against Dutch politician Geert Wilders collapsed on Friday as judges in the case were deemed to be biased against the controversial MP.

Mr Wilders was on trial for inciting hatred because of his criticisms of Islam. He faced up to a year in jail or a fine of up to 7,600 euros (around £6,600) if found guilty.

But last week, amidst concerns of bias amongst the judges, it was decided that the case should be re-run with new judges.


Mr Wilders welcomed the move, saying: “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”.

On Friday it was ruled that a decision by the judges not to allow a key defence witness was “incomprehensible”.

The contention surrounded the re-calling of a Dutch expert on Islam, Hans Jansen, as a witness.


Prof Jansen told a newspaper that one of the appeal court judges who ordered the trial of Mr Wilders had attempted to “convince me of the correctness of his decision to take Wilders to court” at a dinner in May.

However, when Mr Wilders’ defence lawyer attempted to recall Prof Jansen as a witness, he was refused.

The lawyer, Bram Moszkowicz, then asked for the trial judges to be removed, saying they had created “an impression of partiality”.


He said that being denied the opportunity to recall Prof Jansen would “make it impossible for the defence to substantiate a crucial part of its case”.

And a panel of judges, convened to make a ruling on Mr Moszkowicz’s request, said the decision appeared “to be in conflict with the applicable jurisprudence”.

It was agreed the judges’ decision not to allow the witness to appear was “incomprehensible”. Mr Wilders will now face a re-trial.

The case had already seen controversy when the prosecution against Mr Wilders called for the Dutch MP to be acquitted, saying his comments were not criminal. However the case continued regardless.


Mr Wilders has always maintained that he is targeting Islam not individual Muslims.

The Dutchman is the leader of the Freedom Party, the third largest party in the Dutch parliament, giving him a key role in coalition discussions.

During the trial prosecutors drew attention to Mr Wilders’ 17-minute film, “Fitna”.

The film features quotations from the Koran interspersed with footage of terrorist atrocities and speeches by Muslim preachers.

It was screened in the British Parliament earlier this year. The screening was due to take place a year earlier, but Mr Wilders was banned by the Home Office from entering the UK.

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