Danish cartoonist attacker jailed

Somali man who targeted cartoonist who caricatured the Prophet Muhammad is sentenced to nine years in prison.

    Kurt Westergaard's cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad prompted demonstrations in several countries [File: EPA]

    A Somali man who targeted Kurt Westergaard, a Danish cartoonist known for caricaturing the Prophet Mohammad, has been sentenced to nine years in prison, followed by expulsion.

    A court in the city of Aarhus sentenced Mohamed Geele to be expelled from Denmark and banned from the country for life after serving his sentence, a police official said on Friday.

    He was found guilty of attempted murder and terrorism on Thursday.

    The prosecutor had asked for a 12-year sentence, but the defence lawyer had argued for no more than six years and said he would lodge an appeal, local media reported.

    Geele, 29, had attempted to enter Westergaard's home in the eastern city of Aarhus on New Year's Day, 2010. The cartoonist, 75, locked himself in a panic room and escaped unhurt.

    Geele, who was acquitted of a separate charge of attempting to murder a policeman trying to arrest him, had denied the charges.

    The court said in a statement the attack was an attempt to frighten the population and destabilise society and thus constituted an act of terror.

    Geele had pleaded not guilty to the terror and manslaughter charges, and said he had entered the cartoonist's home intending only to frighten him.

    He was acquitted of another manslaughter charge, brought because he threw his axe at a police officer who arrived to arrest him, but was convicted of assaulting the officer.

    Westergaard's drawing of the Prophet, published by a Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in September 2005, triggered violent protests a few months later in a number of countries around the world.

    The protesters felt the cartoons had profoundly insulted Islam, which opposes any depiction of the Prophet.

    Several dozen people were killed during the riots at the time as angry crowds attacked Danish embassies around the world.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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