BADHOEVEDORP: A Dutch court on Monday sentenced a former Pakistan cricketer to 12 years in prison for ‘urging the murder’ of an Islamophobic politician.
Khalid Latif is said to have offered 21,000 euros ($22,500) for the head of Geert Wilders after the firebrand lawmaker sought to arrange a competition for sacrilegious cartoons.
“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 assistance from Pakistan, but to no avail.
“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.
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.
Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2023