THE HAGUE (AFP) – Dutch prosecutors demanded a 5,000-euro fine for controversial anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders in his hate-speech trial Thursday, saying he ”insulted Moroccans” and sowed discord among citizens.
”We ask the bench to convict Mr Wilders for insulting a group and incitement to hate and discrimination, and therefore demand a fine of 5,000 euros ($5,300),” public prosecutor Wouter Bos told judges.
But he did not ask for the maximum penalty of 22,250 euros, as Bos said ”there are worst statements imaginable” than those made by the far-right leader, known for his fiery rhetoric.
The peroxide-haired politician’s comments ”were insulting towards Moroccans as an ethnic group” and bore testimony of ”strong negative feelings” towards them, Bos said.
Neither Wilders — who has snubbed the sittings at a high security courthouse near Schiphol airport — nor his lawyer were present as prosecutors wrapped up their case.
Wilders, 53, is facing charges of insulting a racial group and inciting racial hatred after statements he made about Moroccans living in the Netherlands.
– ‘Fewer’ Moroccans –
Due to run until November 25, the trial focuses on a March 2014 election rally when Wilders asked supporters whether they wanted ”fewer or more Moroccans” in the country.
When the crowd shouted back ”Fewer! Fewer!” a smiling Wilders answered: ”We’re going to organise that.”
With this speech, Wilders ”made a clear distinction between Moroccans and other Dutch citizens,” another prosecutor, Sabina van der Kallen told a three-judge bench.
The verdict and sentence are expected on December 9.
Wilders has so far snubbed the trial which he has denounced as a ”political process” and a ”travesty” accusing government of trying to silence him.
”A demand for punishment for asking a question about one of the biggest problems in NL,” Wilders tweeted as Thursday’s hearing got underway.
”Delusional. I’ll pay no attention to it,” the populist politician said.
Wilders has remained unrepentant and has repeatedly maintained he was just ”saying what millions of other Dutch people think.”
The trial comes as political pressure builds ahead of Dutch general elections in March.
Wilders who has promised to close mosques, ban Muslim immigrants and withdraw The Netherlands from the European Union is riding high in the polls.
His far-right Freedom Party (PVV) is running a close second to the Liberal VVD party of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who heads a coalition government.
It is the second such trial for Wilders, who was acquitted of similar charges in 2011 about comments made over Islam.
Back then however, public prosecutors said he insulted a religion as opposed to a specific ethnic group and he was acquitted.