Rettssaken mot Geert Wilders gikk ikke helt som forventet. Wilders sa han forbeholdt seg rettentil å tie. Det avfødte en kommentar fra hoveddommeren om at Wilders gjerne kommer med sterke uttalelser, men nekter å debattere dem. Det fikk Wilders til å protestere. Det var en helt unødvendig og upassende bemerkning sa han og leverte anmodning om at dommeren, Jan Moors, må skiftes ut.

Et panel på tre dommere skal ta stilling til det imorgen. Hvis svaret er ja betyr det utsettelse på flere måneder.

Wilders har etter loven rett til å tie.

«I am on trial, but on trial with me is the freedom of expression of many Dutch citizens,» he told the Amsterdam district court. «I can assure you, I will continue proclaiming it.»

Wilders then asserted his right to remain silent for the rest of the trial, prompting a comment from the presiding judge, Jan Moors, which was challenged by Wilders’s lawyer.

Moors said Wilders was known for making bold statements but avoiding discussions, adding: «It appears you’re doing so again.»

Bram Moszkowicz, representing Wilders, said the comment gave the appearance that Moors was biased and moved to have him substituted.

The hearing was suspended while other judges consider the complaint. They are to rule tomorrow on Wilders’s challenge, meaning that a new panel of three judges could be appointed, delaying the trial by several months.

«I thought I had a right to a fair trial, including the right to remain silent,» said Wilders. «It is scandalous that the judge passes comment on that. A fair trial is not possible with judges like that.»

At the weekend, rather than comparing Islam to fascism, Wilders argued that Islam was the new communism, paraphrasing Karl Marx to declare that Islam is now the spectre haunting Europe.

Relishing a role as a martyr for liberty and free speech, he stated: «I am standing trial … because of my opinions on Islam … and because the Dutch establishment – most of them non-Muslims – wants to silence me. I have been dragged to court because in my country freedom can no longer be fully enjoyed.

«In Europe the national state, and increasingly the EU, prescribes how citizens – including democratically elected politicians such as myself – should think and what we are allowed to say.»

The attempt to bring Wilders to trial was initially dismissed, but an appeals court ruled he should face charges after he wrote an opinion piece in a Dutch newspaper stating: «I’ve had enough of Islam in the Netherlands; let not one more Muslim immigrate … I’ve had enough of the Qur’an in the Netherlands. Forbid that fascist book.»

Problemet for aktoratet og dommerne er at det kan bli vanskelig å avveie hvor grensen går. Som Frank Aarebrot sa på NRK: -Man tar bare den ene siden. Hva med den andre? Hvam med det som sies på arabisk i ghettoene? Hva med det hatet?

Uttalelsen kom nok litt bakpå Hege Holm i Dagsnytt Atten. Hvis en kjent røst som Aarebrot begynner å forsvare Wilders, faller noe av NRKs strategi sammen. Den går ut på å fremstille Wilders som en farlig mann, leder av et nytt europeisk ytre høyre som må bekjempes med alle midler.

Men det er ikke helt enkelt. Wilders parti blir nå støtteparti for en ny regjering. Sist helg var han i Berlin og ble mottatt som en helt. Wilders har etterhvert blitt en dyktig taler.

In Berlin at the weekend he argued that Islam was bent on dominating the west, deliberately flooding Europe with migrants.

«We must realise that Islam expands in two ways. Historically, Islam expanded either by military conquest or by using the weapon of hijra, immigration. Muhammad conquered Medina through immigration. Hijra is also what we are experiencing today. The Islamisation of Europe continues all the time. But the west has no strategy for dealing with the Islamic ideology, because our elites say that we must adapt to them rather than the other way round.»

While Wilders was delivering his call in Berlin for a new «international freedom alliance» targeting Muslim immigration in Europe, Dutch Christian Democrats held their noses and committed to a new minority government with the rightwing liberal VVD party, which will depend on the backing of Wilders’s 24 seats in the Dutch parliament.

In return for his support, Wilders has gained a binding agreement to ban the burqa, crack down on immigration, and pursue more Eurosceptic policies.

«This is an historic event for the Netherlands,» he said. «We will be able to rebuild our country, preserve our national identity and offer our children a better future.»

Geert Wilders trial halted as lawyer accuses judge of bias
Dutch far-right leader’s advocate challenges presiding judge’s comment on opening day of Wilders’ trial for inciting racial hatred