Sharp rise in threats against politicians, most aimed at Wilders

Geert Wilders surrounded by bodyguards. Photo:

A record 1,125 threats against politicians were registered via a special police hotline last year, almost double the 2021 total.

The number of threats considered to be criminal offences rose even more sharply, from 373 in 2021 to 889. The increase was largely down to many new threats made against far right MP Geert Wilders. 

In total, 37 cases went to court in 2022, resulting in punishments ranging from several months in jail for the man with a flaming torch outside finance minister Sigrid Kaag’s home, to community service sentences. 

According to the AD, the youngest person identified as making a threat was an 11-year-old boy.  

A further 127 cases are still being investigated. “Many threats are made on social media using pseudonyms,” the public prosecution department said. “Finding out who is behind a social media account has to be done via the social media companies. Sometimes they cooperate, sometimes they don’t, and this all takes time.”

In 600 of the cases deemed worthy of prosecution last year, the threat was made in a country with which the Netherlands does not have a treaty covering criminal prosecutions. These were mainly threats made from Pakistan against Wilders.

In April, the public prosecution department asked Pakistan to cooperate in its efforts to try a 37-year-old man for offering a €21,000 reward for the Wilders’ murder five years ago.

The department has asked the Pakistan authorities to deliver the formal summons to the man – named by Dutch media as cricket player Khaled Latif – but admits there is no guarantee it will have any effect, given the two countries do not have a treaty on requests for legal help.

Later on Monday, seven people will appear in court charged with making threats against prime minister Mark Rutte and several ministers, the AD said.

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