Dutch court sentences Pakistani of threat to kill Wilders

International

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A Dutch court sentenced a Pakistani man Monday to 10 years in prison for plotting a terror attack on anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders.

The 27-year-old man, whose identity was not released by The Hague District Court, was given a higher sentence Monday than the six years sought by prosecutors.

Judges said they imposed the higher sentence because of factors including the suspect’s ongoing aim to kill Wilders.

They condemned the man’s plan to attack Wilders as an assault on Dutch democracy and freedom of speech.

“Kudos for these judges,” Wilders said in a tweet.

Death threats are part of Wilders’ daily life because of his strident anti-Islam rhetoric. He has lived in safe houses and under round-the-clock protection for years.

The court said the 27-year-old traveled to the Netherlands in August last year planning to kill Wilders because of a competition the politician was organizing featuring cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. The contest was eventually canceled.

Physical depictions of the prophet are forbidden in Islam and deeply offensive to Muslims.

Prosecutors told judges that the man threatened Wilders in a video he posted on Facebook in which he said: “I will send that dog … to Hell.”

The suspect denied plotting to kill Wilders.

The court said that organizing the contest was covered by Wilders’ freedom of expression.

“The suspect wanted to carry out the attack in one of the buildings of Parliament, the heart of the Dutch democracy,” the court said. “The attack would therefore have disrupted the fundamental political and constitutional structures in the Netherlands.”

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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