Dutch pop­ulist law­maker slams his trial as ‘cha­rade’

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

THE HAGUE, Nether­lands (AP): POP­ULIST ANTI-ISLAM law­maker Geert Wilders de­liv­ered a fiery clos­ing state­ment yes­ter­day 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, whose party is rid­ing high in Dutch opin­ion polls, told a three-judge panel sit­ting in a heav­ily guarded court­room on the out­skirts of Am­s­ter­dam that, as an elected law­maker, he must be able to talk about the “megaMoroc­can prob­lem” in the Nether­lands and would not be muz­zled by what he branded a political trial.

In an ad­dress that sounded as much like a cam­paign speech ahead of Dutch par­lia­men­tary elec­tions due in March as a le­gal defence, Wilders cast him­self as part of a swelling global anti­estab­lish­ment move­ment that al­ready has re­vealed it­self in the Bri­tish vote to leave the Euro­pean Union and Don­ald Trump’s vic­tory in the US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

“World­wide, a move­ment has started that is mak­ing short shrift of the po­lit­i­cally cor­rect doc­trines of the elite and their sub­or­di­nate me­dia,” Wilders said. “Brexit proved it. The Amer­i­can elec­tion proved it.”

And, turn­ing to up­com­ing elec­tions and votes across Europe, he added that, “It is about to be proven in Aus­tria and Italy. Next year it will also be proven in France, Ger­many and, yes, also in the Nether­lands.”

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