Khalid Latif: Cricketer sentenced over Dutch MP Geert Wilders murder threat

Former Pakistani cricketer Khalid Latif
Image caption,Khalid Latif posted a video online in 2018 calling for the death of Dutch MP Geert Wilders

By Kathryn Armstrong

BBC News

A former Pakistan international cricketer has been given a 12-year prison sentence in the Netherlands for threatening far-right MP Geert Wilders.

The case was based on a video posted online in 2018, in which Khalid Latif offered 21,000 euros (£18,000) to anyone who would kill the politician.

That was after Mr Wilders made comments about the Prophet Muhammad that were offensive to Muslims.

It is considered unlikely that Latif will serve any of his sentence.

He currently lives in Pakistan, which has no extradition treaty with the Netherlands.

The Dutch authorities have been seeking to question Latif for several years but said they have been given no help from Pakistan.

The court ruled on Monday “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 said his comments were not just an attack on Mr Wilders personally but an attack on free speech.

There was no immediate comment from Latif following the ruling.

He posted the video online in 2018 in response to Mr Wilder’s announcement that he would hold a competition for caricatures of the Muhammad.

Images of the Prophet are forbidden in Islam as they are considered a form of idolatry and caricatures are considered highly offensive.

Dutch MP Geert Wilders
Image caption,Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders is known for his anti-Islam rhetoric

Mr Wilders, who is known for his anti-Islam rhetoric, later backtracked after large-scale protests broke out in Pakistan and he received several death threats.

The 60-year-old is no stranger to controversy. In 2020, he was cleared of charges of inciting hatred and discrimination but was convicted for insulting a racial group.

Mr Wilders was convicted on similar charges in 2016.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter) following the court’s ruling on Monday, he urged Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and the country’s justice minister to put “strong pressure” on the Pakistani authorities to arrest and extradite Latif.

The former batsman has not played cricket since 2017 when he was given a five-year ban for his part in a a spot-fixing ring.

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