Last week, the pretrial for the popular Dutch politician Geert Wilders ended negatively for the defendant and for the right to free speech.
Geert Wilders stands trial on the charge of insulting Muslims as a group and inciting hatred via his sharp critiques of the Koran and Islam. During the pre-hearings, Wilders requested to call 18 expert witnesses. His wish list consisted of three categories: renowned legal experts on freedom of speech; experts on Islamic ideology; and jihadist "experiential experts," such as the killer of Theo van Gogh. The first category of witnesses would argue that harsh critique or rejection of a religious group by a politician is legal, as long as there is a factual basis and a public interest in the things he says. The second category of experts would state that the Koran and Islam form a violent and totalitarian ideology. And the third group of witnesses would testify they observe Islamic law by practicing jihad.
The court ruled it will only hear three of Wilders' witnesses. All three are experts on the Koran and Islam, and are severe critics: Syrian-American anti-Islam activist Wafa Sultan and Dutch Arabists/Islamologists Hans Jansen and Simon Admiraal.