Khalid Latif, a former Pakistan international cricketer, has received a 12-year prison sentence in the Netherlands for making threats against far-right MP Geert Wilders. The case stemmed from a 2018 video in which Latif offered a reward for anyone willing to harm the politician after Wilders made offensive remarks about the Prophet Muhammad.
The Threatening Video: The case has built on a video posted online by Khalid Latif in 2018, in which he offered €21,000 to anyone who would carry out harm against Geert Wilders. This offer came in response to Wilders’ controversial comments regarding the Prophet Muhammad, which deeply offended Muslims.
Unlikely to Serve Sentence: Latif is currently residing in Pakistan, which lacks an extradition treaty with the Netherlands. As a result, it is improbable that he will serve any part of his 12-year sentence.
Dutch Authorities’ Efforts: Dutch authorities have been attempting to question Latif for several years but have faced challenges in gaining cooperation from Pakistan.
Global Impact of Threat: The court’s ruling emphasized that Latif’s video had the potential to influence individuals worldwide to act on the threat against Geert Wilders. It has viewed as not just an attack on Wilders personally but also an attack on free speech.
No Immediate Response from Latif: Following the court’s ruling, there was no immediate response or comment from Khalid Latif.
Background to the Threat: Latif posted the threatening video in response to Geert Wilders’ announcement of a competition for caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. In Islam, images of the Prophet considered forbidden, and caricatures seen as deeply offensive.
Geert Wilders’ Controversial History: Geert Wilders, known for his anti-Islam rhetoric, has faced controversy before. In 2020, he has cleared of charges related to inciting hatred and discrimination but has convicted for insulting a racial group. Similar charges resulted in convictions in 2016.
Appeal to Dutch Authorities: In response to the court’s decision, Geert Wilders took to social media to call on Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and the country’s justice minister to exert “strong pressure” on Pakistani authorities to arrest and extradite Khalid Latif.
Cricket Ban and Spot-Fixing Ring: Khalid Latif has not played cricket since 2017 when he received a five-year ban for his involvement in a spot-fixing ring, marking the end of his cricketing career.