Dutch court sentences Pakistani national to 10 years jail for planning attack on Geert Wilders

Representational image
Representational Image

A court in the Netherlands, on Monday, sentenced a Pakistani national to 10 years imprisonment for threatening to kill the far-right anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders. The 27-year-old Junaid I had travelled to the Netherlands, in August, last year.

It was when Wilders announced a competition, in which the participants had to make cartoons of Prophet Mohammed. Physical depiction of the Prophet is prohibited in Islam and is highly offensive to the Muslims. Junaid, in a video posted on Facebook, said that he would do everything in his power to stop 'the dog' Wilders, reported Dutch News.
Junaid's lawyers argued that he didn't intend to execute Wilders, but the panel of judges ruled that they were satisfied that he was planning a 'terrorist attack on a politician'. The court decided that Wilders was exercising his freedom of speech. The suspect wanted to carry out an attack in one of the parliament buildings, the heart of Dutch democracy, wrote the judges.

The judges further noted, "The attack would, therefore, have meant disrupting of the fundamental political and constitutional structures of the Netherlands. Such an attack would have caused a wave of fear." Though the prosecutors sought a prison term of 6 years for Junaid, he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment by the Dutch court. Geert Wilders took to Twitter to pay 'tribute' to the judges.

Geert announced the cartoon contest, last year which led to a wave of protests by the Muslims. The strongest protests occurred in Pakistan, from death threats to effigy burning, members of far-right religious group Tehreek-e-Labaik even asked the Pakistani PM to cut all diplomatic ties with the European nation.
The Dutch government distanced itself from the contest. Prime Minister Mark Rutte, criticized the politician by saying, "His aim is not to have a debate about Islam. His aim is to be provocative." The government didn't order for cancellation of the contest as it came within the 'Freedom of Speech' of the politician.

The contest that was to take place in November was cancelled in late October, amid backlash and threats. Wilders said in a statement, "To avoid the risk of victims of Islamic violence, I have decided not to let the cartoon contest go ahead."

An Afghan refugee Jaweed S has also been sentenced to 26 years and 8 months in prison for stabbing two American tourists at Amsterdam's Central Station in an attack which he said was provoked by the cartoon contest. He had come from Germany with an intent to kill as many people as possible.