Suspect faces 12 year sentence if convicted of incitement to murder Geert Wilders

The Public Prosecution Service (OM) demanded on Tuesday a 12-year prison sentence for 37-year-old Pakistani cricket player Khalid Latif, who is accused of offering 21,000 euros in 2018 for the murder of the Dutch MP and PVV leader Geert Wilders. The offer was allegedly made via an online video posted from Pakistan.

The Pakistani man is accused of incitement to murder, sedition, and threats. In May 2018, he posted a video online in which he called upon people to kill Geert Wilders and issued a reward of 3 million rupees. At the time, this sum was the equivalent of 21.000 euros. This offer was made after Geert Wilder announced a cartoon contest featuring caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

The Public Prosecution Service stated that it is unclear whether the suspect personally uploaded the video or if someone else did. However, the circumstances – the suspect speaking slowly and looking directly into the camera – indicate that he intended for the video to be public. There is also no evidence to suggest he ever intended for the video to remain private or attempted to retract it once it was public.

The prosecutor also pointed out that the video was issued during a period in which there was a lot of hatred and anger towards Geert Wilders. They mentioned the arrest of another Pakistani, Junaid I., who traveled to the Netherlands in August of the same year and planned to kill Geert Wilders. In February 2021, the court in The Hague sentenced him to ten years in prison.

This case “shows that the video message was not just about a fictitious scenario but that it potentially reached many people who could feel inspired to act on it. The goal of the video message was to remove a Dutch politician from the public debate so that his message could not be heard anymore,” OM stated.

His case is being tried in the high-security court at Schiphol. Wilders attended the trial, which was held in the high-security court at Schiphol. “Unfortunately, a large part of my life consists of death threats that I have been receiving just about every day for many years and which force me to live in unfreedom,” he said in court.

The suspect resides in Pakistan and was not present in court on Tuesday. Since 2018, the Public Prosecution Service has been attempting to contact him and request mutual assistance from Pakistan. To date, Dutch authorities have not received any response to these requests for cooperation. The Netherlands does not have an extradition treaty with Pakistan, meaning that even if Latif is convicted, he will not be extradited to the Netherlands.

The court is expected to rule on September 11.

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