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THE HAGUE, Netherlands – 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.