Former International Cricketer Sentenced to 12 Years for Inciting Murder Against Dutch Populist Wilders

Getty Images / Collage

A Pakistani international cricketer was sentenced in his absence to 12 years in prison on Monday for placing a bounty on the head of a Dutch politician, but the Netherlands doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Pakistan.

Cricketer Khalid Latif, who offered a $23,000 bounty for anyone who killed trenchant Islam critic and Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison by a Hague court. The court said in a statement: “a long-term unconditional term of imprisonment is the only suitable punishment for these types of offences.”

Latif was not in the room for the sentence and was not represented by a lawyer, the sentence only being actionable should Netherlands law enforcement personnel be able to seize Latif physically. Latif was banned from cricket in 2017 for his involvement in a major match-fixing scandal.

Given the 37-year-old Pakistani cricketer is believed to be in Pakistan, and the Netherlands does not have an extradition treaty with the nation, it is unlikely Latif will ever actually spend time inside for inciting death.

Nevertheless Wilders himself is glad the cricketer has been convicted, but said justice will not be done until he’s behind bars. Saying he would talk to the Prime Minister today to request the government speak to Pakistan and request they hand over Latif voluntarily, even though there is no formal extradition framework he remarked to camera: “It is a fair and honest judgement, I am very happy with it. 12 years in prison for Khalid Latif, but of course he is not here. It is only real justice when he will be arrested.”

Mr Wilders said he hoped the conviction in absentia would open the doors to Dutch prosecutors going after other prominent figures, including political and religious leaders in Pakistan, who had also made threats against his life, including placing death sentence fatwas (an Islamic religious ruling) on his head. He continued: “I have lost my whole personal freedom for almost 19 years now. My wife and I have lived in prison cells… army barracks, safe houses to today. We lost our personal freedom, we have around-the-clock police protection. The only freedom I have is my freedom of speech and my freedom of thought.”

Geert Wilders is a Dutch parliamentarian with 25 years of service in the chamber who has gained worldwide attention for his comments and campaigns against the Islamisation of Europe, a religion he says struggles with violent intolerance. Saying why he had continued his protests although they have brought death threats against him, Mr Wilders said Monday it was important to: “prove the point that terrorists, people who use violence, may never win. You can be as sensible as you want but you can never give into violence… if somebody criticises Christianity or Judaism, not a thing, not the same things happen as if you criticise Mohammed, and we should not accept that”.

One of those campaigns was a series of draw Mohammed competitions that Mr. Wilders has run or been involved with, including one in Garland, Texas which was attacked by an Islamic State cell. Both suspects were killed when they attempted to rush the building, which Mr. Wilders was inside at the time.

Writing for Breitbart News in 2018, Wilders said he would be launching another cartoon comepttiion in the Dutch Parliament, explaining his rationale then as: “The contest is not intended to provoke or insult anyone… Islam forbids every form of Islam criticism. It also forbids depicting its founder, Muhammad. In the West, however, we should not accept ideological restrictions to free speech. Freedom of speech is the most important freedom we have.”

The real problem, Wilders wrote, is not that “Islam feels so easily insulted, the real problem is that Islam feels entitled to murder those whom it feels insulted or criticized by”, pointing to the assassination of Theo van Gogh.

It is allegedly these cartoon competitions — even though the planned Dutch edition did not ultimately go ahead — that prompted Pakistani cricketer Khalid Latif to issue the bounty of $23,000 against Mr Wilders in 2018.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.