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Cartoonist attacker sentenced to nine years in jail

Latest update : 2011-02-04

A Danish court on Friday handed down a sentence of nine years in jail followed by deportation to a Somali man for trying to kill the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard (pictured) whose drawings of Prophet Mohammed had sparked worldwide Muslim outrage.

AFP - A court on Thursday convicted a 29-year-old Somali man of attempted terrorism and attempted murder for attacking a Danish cartoonist who caricatured the Prophet Mohammed.

The court in the central Danish town of Aarhus ruled that Mohamed Geele not only tried to kill Kurt Westergaard when he broke into his home on January 1, 2010, wielding an axe and a knife, but that the attack also amounted to an act of terrorism.

"The court deems that the attempted murder of Kurt Westergaard in his own home, (of the man who) personifies the Mohammed cartoon affair, must be considered as an attempt to instil a heightened level of fear in the population and to destabilise the structures of society," which falls under the Danish anti-terrorism law, judge Ingrid Thorsboe told the court.

The verdict was reached by a unanimous jury, she added

Westergaard, 75, had testified during last month's trial that Geele rushed in screaming "You must die! You are going to Hell!", forcing the cartoonist to escape "certain death" by rushing into a bathroom-turned-panic-room to call police.
             

It was horrible. I hid in the secure room when he entered the house[...] It was very, very close.

Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, speaking to the Jyllande-Pasken newspaper

The Somali had threatened police with his axe and knife before being shot twice and placed under arrest.

Geele insisted during the trial he was only trying to scare the cartoonist.

Westergaard has faced numerous death threats since the publication of his drawing, the most controversial of the 12 cartoons of Mohammed which appeared in the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten on September 30, 2005.

The drawings sparked deadly protests across the Islamic world in early 2006.

The Aarhus court is scheduled to rule on Geele's sentencing Friday. The Somali risks life in prison.

Date created : 2011-02-04

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