THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — 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.
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 give me the feeling that I am worthless."
Wilders has branded the case a political trial and is refusing to attend.
In a tweet Thursday, before prosecutors demand the fine, Wilders said he was being prosecuted "for asking a question about one of the largest problems in NL. Madness. I will not let it stop me!"
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.