Former Pakistani cricketer sentenced to 12-years jail

Former Pakistani cricketer Khalid Latif has been sentenced to 12 years in prison by a Dutch court for inciting the murder of Geert Wilders, a prominent anti-Islam Member of Parliament.

Latif, 37, offered a reward of 21,000 euros ($22,500) in an online video for the assassination of Wilders, who had organized a competition for cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). The presiding judge, G. Verbeek, emphasized that it was highly plausible that someone might act on Latif’s call to harm Wilders, and that Latif was aware of this, making him culpable for fueling the intent to harm Wilders.

Latif was convicted in absentia, and it is improbable that he will serve his sentence, as Dutch authorities have unsuccessfully attempted to question him and sought legal assistance from Pakistan without success.

Geert Wilders had to cancel the cartoon contest due to protests in Pakistan and numerous death threats, and he has been under 24-hour state protection since 2004.

The contest was widely criticized in the Netherlands for needlessly provoking Muslims, including by politicians, local media, and the general public.

The judge noted that Latif’s video not only targeted Wilders personally but also attacked the principle of free speech in the Netherlands.

Khalid Latif, who had represented Pakistan in five one-day internationals and 13 T20 internationals, had previously received a five-year ban from cricket in 2017 for spot-fixing in a Pakistan Super League match in Dubai.

His last appearance for Pakistan was in September 2016 against the West Indies. Judge Verbeek mentioned that Latif had exploited his status as an international cricketer to aggravate an already tense situation in the Netherlands, which was facing multiple threats.

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