Europe

Dutch populist lawmaker Wilders slams his trial as 'charade'

  • Populist anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders prepares to address judges at the high-security court near Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016, during his hate-speech trial that pits freedom of expression against the Netherlands' anti-discrimination laws. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

    Populist anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders prepares to address judges at the high-security court near Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016, during his hate-speech trial that pits freedom of expression against the Netherlands' anti-discrimination laws. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)  (The Associated Press)

  • Populist anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders, second left, waits for a member of his legal team to enter the high-security court near Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016, to attend his hate-speech trial that pits freedom of expression against the Netherlands' anti-discrimination laws. Rear second right is Wilders' lawyer Geert-Jan Knoops. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

    Populist anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders, second left, waits for a member of his legal team to enter the high-security court near Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016, to attend his hate-speech trial that pits freedom of expression against the Netherlands' anti-discrimination laws. Rear second right is Wilders' lawyer Geert-Jan Knoops. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)  (The Associated Press)

  • Populist anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders prepares to address judges at the high-security court near Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016, during his hate-speech trial that pits freedom of expression against the Netherlands' anti-discrimination laws. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

    Populist anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders prepares to address judges at the high-security court near Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016, during his hate-speech trial that pits freedom of expression against the Netherlands' anti-discrimination laws. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)  (The Associated Press)

Populist anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders has delivered a fiery closing statement at his hate speech trial, slamming his prosecution as a "charade, a disgrace for the Netherlands, a mockery for our society" that threatens freedom of speech.

Wilders told a three-judge panel Wednesday that, as an elected lawmaker, he must be able to talk about the "mega-Moroccan problem" in the Netherlands.

The politically charged prosecution centers on comments 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."

The court will deliver its verdict and sentence Dec. 9.