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Former Pakistani cricketer Khalid Latif sentenced for 12 years

Former Pakistani cricketer Khalid Latif sentenced for 12 years

A Dutch court has issued a 12-year prison sentence to former Pakistani cricketer Khalid Latif in absentia, following his trial for inciting violence against Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders.

The court’s ruling deems Latif’s statements as incitement to murder, sedition, and threats, despite him residing in Pakistan and not participating in any part of the trial in the Netherlands. The absence of judicial cooperation or extradition treaties between the Netherlands and Pakistan, along with unanswered requests for cooperation in this case, complicated the legal proceedings.

The court established that in 2018, Latif posted a video offering a reward of PKR 3 million (approximately EUR 21,000 at the time) for the assassination of Geert Wilders. This video was released amidst fervent demonstrations in Pakistan against Wilders, who had announced a controversial cartoon contest featuring caricatures of Prophet Mohammad. Eventually, the competition was canceled due to the uproar it generated.

“The suspect’s choice of words is explicit: he promises a substantial sum of money to anyone who commits a specific act, namely the assassination of Mr. Wilders,” stated the Hague district court. The court also emphasized the likelihood that someone, anywhere in the world, might feel compelled to act upon this call, given the intensity of the protests that saw Dutch flags burned and calls for Wilders’ death.

Depictions of the Prophet Mohammad are considered forbidden in Islam, and caricatures are deeply offensive to most Muslims.

Khalid Latif, who was previously banned from cricket for five years in 2017 due to his involvement in a spot-fixing scandal, has played five ODIs and 13 T20Is between 2008 and 2016. Reuters attempted to contact Latif for his response but was unsuccessful.

Geert Wilders, a prominent figure in European far-right politics, has played a central role in shaping the Netherlands’ immigration discourse over the past two decades. Despite never holding a government position, his Freedom Party (PVV) stands as the third-largest party in the Dutch parliament and serves as the primary opposition party. Wilders has been under continuous police protection since 2004.

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