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article imageJudges to be replaced in trial of Dutch politician Geert Wilders

By R. C. Camphausen     Oct 22, 2010 in Politics
Amsterdam - For a second time, the lawyer defending Geert Wilders has called for the judges to be dismissed because of apparent partiality. This time, today, an independent appeals panel agreed with him and the trial will have to start all over again.
Friday afternoon saw the first breaking news that Bram Moszkowicz, one of two most highly respected Dutch lawyers, had once more asked for the trial to be suspended and the judges to be removed. A few hours later, a speedily assembled independent appeals panel agreed with the request, stating that it found the trial judges' decision not to allow a Dutch Arabist scholar as witness to be "incomprehensible in the absence of any motivation."
The BBC further reported on the question with the following: They [the panel] said that, as a result, Mr Wilders' fear of bias as a result was "understandable".
"Under the circumstances, the request (for the judges' removal) is granted," said a statement from the panel.
Geert Wilders, lawmaker and leader of the third largest party in the Netherlands, stands trial for having allegedly incited hatred by way of what he's said in various speeches about the Islam and the Koran. Wilders, however, and his lawyer as well as others in the Dutch justice system, regard the trial as politically motivated -- saying that what he has said is protected by the right to free speech.
The Dutch media are paying very much attention to the trial with talk-shows having guest every night who voice their opinions, both for and against Wilders.
The lawyer's new and successful attempt to have the judges dismissed came on the foot of a newspaper report that showed how an unnamed court official may have tried to pressure one of the defence witnesses while attending a dinner in the same club.
Wilders' comment when speaking to the panel was that he regarded the trial as "a great big mess."
More about Geert wilders, Trial, Freedom expression, Hate speech, Islam
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