Amsterdam, September 11, 2023, A Dutch court on Monday sentenced former Pakistan international cricketer Khalid Latif to 12 years in prison for urging the murder of anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders.
Latif, 37 – who captained Pakistan at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou – offered €21,000 (US$22,500) for the head of Wilders in an online video after the firebrand lawmaker sought to arrange a competition for cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
“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 is extremely unlikely that Latif, who was convicted in absentia, will serve his sentence. Dutch authorities have sought in vain to question Latif over the case and requested legal help from Pakistan, also to no avail.
Wilders cancelled the cartoon contest after protests broke out in Pakistan and he was inundated with death threats. He has been under 24-hour state protection since 2004.
In the Netherlands, the plan to stage the contest was criticised widely with politicians, local media and ordinary citizens slamming the idea as needlessly antagonising Muslims.
But the call to kill Wilders appeared to resonate in the real world, with a Pakistani man sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2019 for plotting his assassination in the wake of the cancelled contest.