Pakistanis Face Dutch Trial for Calling to Kill Anti-Islam MP

The Netherlands has charged two Pakistani nationals with incitement to murder Geert Wilders, a far-right Dutch politician known for his anti-Islam views. The Dutch Public Prosecution Service said on Wednesday that it was prosecuting a 55-year-old religious leader and a 29-year-old political leader, who allegedly urged their followers to kill Wilders and promised them a reward in the afterlife.

The two suspects are accused of making public calls for Wilders’ murder during meetings and on social media through video and text messages. The prosecution said that the political leader also said that since the conviction of Pakistani cricketer Khalid Latif, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison by a Dutch court in September 2023 for a similar offence, it was “up to his own followers to carry out the task”.

The Dutch authorities have requested legal assistance from Pakistan to question the suspects and serve them summonses to appear in court. However, the Netherlands and Pakistan do not have an extradition treaty, and it is unclear whether the two men will ever face trial. The first hearing of the case is scheduled for September 2 at a highly-secure courthouse near Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport.

Wilders, who leads the Freedom Party, which won the most seats in the Dutch elections in November 2023, posted two names on X, formerly Twitter, but the prosecution did not confirm the identities of the suspects due to privacy reasons. Wilders said he hoped they would be extradited, convicted and jailed. He also thanked the Dutch police and prosecutors for their work.

Wilders has been a vocal critic of Islam and immigration, and has faced numerous death threats and attempts on his life. He has been under 24-hour state protection since 2004. In 2018, he cancelled a planned contest for cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, which is considered blasphemous by many Muslims, after protests erupted in Pakistan and he received numerous death threats. In 2019, a Pakistani man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for plotting to assassinate Wilders in retaliation for the cancelled contest.

The news of the charges against the two Pakistanis has sparked reactions in both countries. In the Netherlands, some politicians, media outlets and citizens have condemned the threats against Wilders and expressed support for his freedom of expression. In Pakistan, some religious and political groups have denounced the charges and accused the Netherlands of insulting Islam and violating human rights.

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