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Dutch prosecutor urges fine for anti-Islam lawmaker Wilders

Associated Press Associated Press 17/11/2016 By MIKE CORDER, Associated Press
FILE - In this Thursday, April 9, 2015 file photo Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam Freedom Party, holds a sign reading "No Hate Imams in the Netherlands" in Utrecht, central Netherlands. Dutch prosecutors have begun summing up their case against populist anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders in his hate-speech trial that pits freedom of expression against the Netherlands' anti-discrimination laws. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Thursday, April 9, 2015 file photo Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam Freedom Party, holds a sign reading "No Hate Imams in the Netherlands" in Utrecht, central Netherlands. Dutch prosecutors have begun summing up their case against populist anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders in his hate-speech trial that pits freedom of expression against the Netherlands' anti-discrimination laws. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Prosecutors asked a Dutch court Thursday to convict populist anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders and fine him 5,000 euros ($5,360), saying he deliberately insulted and incited hate against Moroccans.

In a video reaction posted online in Dutch and English, Wilders called the sentence demand "utter madness. Only meant to shut you and me up."

The politically charged trial centers on comments that Wilders made before and after the Dutch municipal elections in 2014. At one meeting in a Hague cafe, he asked supporters whether they wanted more or fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands. That sparked a chant of "Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!" — to which he replied "we'll take care of it."

Prosecutor Wouter Bos said the court should "send a clear signal that statements like these do not belong in the Netherlands."

Bos told the three-judge panel that Wilders' comments portrayed Moroccans as "of less value and put them outside society. In fact, Wilders is saying that Moroccans don't deserve to stay here."

The prosecutor cited one of the many Moroccans who filed criminal complaints against Wilders.

"You only want less of something that is bad and not good," Bos said, citing the complaint. "Wilders gives me the feeling that I am worthless."

Wilders has branded the case a political trial and is refusing to attend.

Members of Wilders' Freedom Party unfurled a banner in the lower house of the Dutch parliament emblazoned with a large photograph of Wilders with a red X stamped over his mouth.

Prosecutors earlier said the maximum possible sentence was a two-year prison sentence.

The verdict and sentencing are scheduled for Dec. 9.

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