Last Update on: September 11th, 2023 at 05:05 pm
A Dutch court has sentenced former Pakistani cricketer Khalid Latif to prison for inciting the murder of Dutch anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders. The court ruled in absentia after Khalid Latif’s actions led to a 12-year prison sentence linked to calls for Geert Wilders’ murder.
Khalid Latif offered a reward of 21,000 euros ($22,500) for anyone who would kill Geert Wilders, who had organized a controversial competition involving cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. Latif didn’t attend the trial and was sentenced by the court for his statements.
The 37-year-old, who currently lives in Pakistan, was not represented by a lawyer in the high-security courtroom near Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport for the trial. The court ruled that statements by Khalid Latif were deemed incitements to murder, sedition, and threats.
“It was not a stretch to think that somebody around the world would have taken heed of the call to kill Mr Wilders,” presiding judge G. Verbeek told the court.
“The accused knew this and his call fuelled the fire to have Wilders killed.”
It’s A Good Sentence – Greet Wilders
Latif, who was convicted in absentia, is highly unlikely to serve his sentence in the Netherlands. The Dutch authorities have made unsuccessful attempts to question him and sought legal assistance from Pakistan, also without success.
Geert Wilders, the target of Latif’s threats, expressed satisfaction with the sentence but lamented Latif’s absence in court. Wilders vowed to ask the prime minister to facilitate Latif’s arrest in Pakistan and his extradition to the Netherlands.
“It’s a good sentence, but it’s a pity that the accused is not here in court,” Wilders told reporters outside, sporting his trademark peroxide hairdo.
“It is no longer acceptable that the Pakistani authorities refuse to cooperate. I am going to ask the prime minister to ensure that Khalid Latif is arrested in Pakistan and extradited to the Netherlands,” he added.
Geert Wilders cancelled the cartoon contest due to protests in Pakistan and received death threats, leading to his 24-hour state protection since 2004. The judge noted that Khalid Latif’s video not only targeted Wilders personally but also attacked the concept of free speech in the Netherlands.