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Dutch far-right lawmaker Geert Wilders on Wednesday appeared in an Amsterdam court for the first time in connection with charges of inciting racial hatred against Muslims.
Wilders, who has compared the Koran to Hitler's Mein Kampf, "has always made his statements in his capacity as a public representative," his lawyer Bram Moszkowicz argued at the start of the hearing, held amid heavy security.
But prosecutor Birgit van Roessel said that "expressing his opinion in the media or through other channels is not part of an MP's duties." Lawmakers only enjoy immunity for their utterances when these are made in the confines of parliament.
Wilders faces five charges of religious insult and anti-Muslim incitement after a court last week dismissed his final challenge against the pending prosecution.
He stands accused of insulting Muslims by describing Islam as a fascist religion and calling for the banning of the Koran.
He is also charged with inciting hatred and discrimination for stating that Moroccan youths were violent, calling for Dutch borders to be closed to all "non-western immigrants", and advocating an end to what he terms "the Islamic invasion."