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Prosecutors seek 12 years for Pakistani ex-cricketer who threatened Dutch far-right leader

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) -Prosecutors on Wednesday told judges they were seeking a 12-year sentence for a former Pakistani cricketer who is being tried in absentia for urging people to murder Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders in 2018.

The 37-year-old suspect, identified in court as ex-cricketer Khalid Latif who lives in Pakistan, is charged with incitement to murder, incitement to criminal acts and threatening violence against Wilders.

Prosecutors said Latif posted a video in 2018, offering a 3 million rupee (some 21,000 euros at the time) reward for the murder of Wilders. That video came after Wilders said he planned to hold a cartoon contest depicting caricatures of the Muslim Prophet Mohammad. The competition was later cancelled.

Images of the Prophet Mohammad are forbidden in Islam as a form of idolatry. Caricatures are regarded by most Muslims as highly offensive.

Reuters was not immediately able to reach Latif - who received a five-year ban from cricket in 2017 over a spot-fixing scandal - for comment. Latif, 37, captained the Pakistan team in the 2010 Asian Games.

Wilders, 59, is one of Europe's most prominent far-right leaders and has been a key figure in shaping the immigration debate in the Netherlands over the past decade, although he has never been in government.

His Freedom Party (PVV) is the third-largest in Dutch parliament and is the main opposition party. Wilders has lived under constant police protection since 2004.

In his victim statement, Wilders addressed Latif directly, saying he would not be intimidated.

"Your call to kill me and offer a reward is despicable and will not silence me," he said in court.

The Netherlands and Pakistan have no treaties in place regarding judicial cooperation or extradition and earlier cooperation requests in this case received no response, the prosecution has said.

The court will issue its judgment in the case on Sept. 11.

(Reporting by Stephanie van den BergEditing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Macfie)