Man gets 10 years for threatening attack on far-right Wilders

Junaid I. was sentenced to 10 years in prison for threatening an attack on PVV leader Geert Wilders by the court in The Hague on Monday. The court convicted the 27-year-old Pakistani man of preparing for a murder with a terrorist purpose. The sentence is higher than the six years the Public Prosecutor demanded.

I. was arrested at Den Haag Centraal in August last year, shortly after he arrived from France. The night before his arrest, he posted a video on Facebook in which he announced an attack on Wilders at the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament. He was furious about a cartoon competition featuring the prophet Mohammed that Wilders was organizing.

During the trial, I. denied that he was out to kill the far-right politician, arguing that he was only out to stop the cartoon contest. He said that he was overwhelmed by emotion when he made the video.

But the court disagreed, saying that I.'s version of events is contrary to all evidence. The court ruled that I. wanted to jeopardize freedom of expression in the Netherlands. "What the suspect intended was to remove a prominent politician from the public debate so that he could no longer proclaim his message. The suspect wanted to commit a murder in our parliament building, at the heart of democracy", the judge said, according to NOS.

The court also considered it proven that the suspect intended to murder Wilders, based on conversations I. had on WhatsApp and Facebook. The judge quoted from one such conversation, held on 27 August 2018. A person wrote that I. "must kill him", to which I. responded: "I will do that, with God's will." According to the judge, he expressed the wish to kill Wilders multiple times.