In The Netherlands Dutch MP Wilders questioned Moroccans' 'right to exist'

Wilders remains unrepentant and has repeatedly maintained he was just "saying what millions of other Dutch people think."

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Dutch far-right lawmaker Geert Wilders is facing charges of insulting a racial group and inciting racial hatred play

Dutch far-right lawmaker Geert Wilders is facing charges of insulting a racial group and inciting racial hatred

(ANP/AFP/File)
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Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders insulted Moroccans by questioning their very right to exist with hate-filled comments at a rally, his trial heard on Wednesday.

Laying out their case for the first time, prosecutors addressed the trial at a high-security courthouse near Schiphol airport which has been snubbed by the far-right politician.

Wilders, 53, is facing charges of insulting a racial group and inciting racial hatred after comments he made about Moroccans living in the Netherlands.

Due to run until November 25, the trial focuses on a 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."

"In this case an ethnic group is being collectively affected... namely because they are of Moroccan descent," prosecutor Wouter Bos said.

March elections

"It affects (their) human dignity to the core. It touches upon their right to exist," he told the three judges.

Bos read testimonies from aggrieved Dutch-Moroccan citizens after an avalanche of more than 6,400 complaints against Wilders following the rally.

"Wilders' wish that there should be fewer Moroccans... is about our existence. It feels like we shouldn't be here. That deeply hurts," one woman said in her testimony, read by Bos.

Known for his fiery rhetoric, Wilders has snubbed the trial which he has denounced as a "political process" and a "travesty" accusing government of trying to silence him.

It is the second such trial for Wilders, who was acquitted of similar charges in 2011.

But Bos said "the only measure to judge" whether Wilders should be punished for his comments "should be the law -- and politicians are also bound by it."

"The public prosecution operates in criminal cases independent from politics," said Bos.

"There's no space for personal opinions" either, he insisted.

Wilders remains unrepentant and has repeatedly maintained he was just "saying what millions of other Dutch people think."

The trial, with a verdict due on December 9, comes 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.

Prosecutors are due to announce what sentence they are asking for on Thursday.

If found guilty, Wilders could face a two-year jail term or a fine of over 20,000 euros, but experts believe it is more likely he would face a lesser fine or community service.

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