I’m given to understand Holland’s beautiful in the autumn, however I haven’t had much time to sightsee, shackled as I’ve been and locked for most of my stay inside a prison cell.
I was caught coming out of a café in Switzerland by a rendition team operating under the aegis of an international human rights watch group. Which is funny, in a way. If I understand correctly human rights groups are supposed to be against rendition as a general rule. I suppose they thought me an exceptional case due to the nature of my crimes.
What wasn’t funny was being tasered, having my hands cuffed behind my back, a bag pulled down over my head and being thrown into the back of a black van with no notice or warning. But I suppose there are few, if any, people on Earth who’d expect that to be funny.
I’m not positive how they’d gotten me out of the country, the negotiations between the Swiss government and the United Nations had stalled and they were allowing me to remain until certain provisions (mostly pertaining to my personal safety during the trial) were assured, but I suppose once a group’s willing to kidnap someone in broad daylight in the middle of a crowded street, human trafficking becomes a comparatively easier task to pull off, logistically speaking.
I’d like to think the Swiss made a stink about the matter. I’d like to think an international incident ensued. However, I suspect this wasn’t the case. My host-nation liked me no better than any other country, they just liked being pushed around even less. I suspect once I was gone they were somewhat glad to see the back of me.
So I was spirited, quite against my will, out of Switzerland and brought here, to The Hague, where I am to be judged. My lawyer’s a squirrely little man, balding and bespectacled, who’s on more than one occasion expressed his personal sense of disgust and horror at my actions. Which I suppose is more than fair. What I’ve done is considered by many to be monstrous, after all, and as long as he respects the rule of law, I can live with the notion that he doesn’t respect me.
And he’s an excellent lawyer, which is of some comfort.
The cage, set up in the middle of the courtroom, seems somewhat excessive. After all, it isn’t as though I’ve shown any indication that I might attempt some daring escape. With my hands and feet shackled together I don’t even see how I could. But these proceedings will be broadcast worldwide on all major international news outlets, so I suppose some nod to it’s dramatic presentation was to be expected. It’s the trial of the century, after all, countless pundits have said so. It’s photos and sketches will become iconic images of a world no longer willing to blithely accept the actions of one such as I, and each indignity I face over the course of the proceeding will be cheered as a victory of sanity over madness.
I’m led, shuffling as I do every day since my imprisonment as the chain between my ankles doesn’t allow me to stride, out and into the courtroom by two well armed guards. My lawyer’s already there, although he won’t make direct eye contact with me. I’m shown to a stool within the cage, the only furnishing I’ll be allowed for the duration, and once I’m inside they lock me in, breathing a silent sigh of relief as they do.
I’d hoped they’d unlock my cuffs and manacles once I was safely inside. But then, I’d once hoped never to stand trial. Hope takes a man only so far.
The head of the tribunal, a dour faced, older man I don’t recognize, stares down at me from the seat that serves as the focus of the courtroom. I can see the naked loathing in his face, it’s an expression I’ve come to recognize intimately of late. I can only hope his own professional integrity matches that of my advocate. After all, were he to execute me summarily, few would protest my death.
Having looked me up and down, seeking the measure of the monster the press had had such a field day with once the contents of my blog were unearthed, he apparently decided that the time had come for my trial to finally begin.
“Christopher Munroe,” he intoned in a voice deeper than I’d expected, “you are here before us to stand trial for crimes against humanity, and for the torture in violation of international convention of various puns and premises. How do you plead?”