Another blow for freedom of speech.
The Court of First Instance of Mahdia sentenced two men to seven years of prison for charges relating to their posting of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed on Facebook. The decision is subject to appeal.
According to an extract of the decision, which was posted online, Jabeur Mejri and Ghazi Beji were sentenced to five years in prison for “troubling the public” order and “transgressing morality” by posting the images of the Prophet and an additional two for “bringing harm to others” across “networks of public communications.” The two men were each levied a fine of 1,200 dinars as well.
Beji has fled to Europe to avoid facing charges while Mejri is currently in jail in Mahdia and studying his appeal with his legal representation.
Bochra Belhaj Hmida, lawyer, activist, and ex-president of the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women, is currently involved in an effort to rally civil society against the decision. She stated that she found the decision shocking, particularly, “when one considers the fact that those in Tunisia who committed terrorist acts are free and those two men are being prosecuted for publishing such insignificant things.”
But, then again, most of the American press were afraid to post these cartoons or caricatures as well.
I wonder what my sentence would be, since I have posted them over and over?
Here is Kurt Westergaard’s most famous cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad:
Offices of the Jyllands-Posten Newspaper which published the Mohammed Cartoons
Mikael Davud, David Jakobsen and Shawan Sadek Saeed Bujak are charged with planning to carry out an assault using explosives on Danish paper Jyllandsposten. The charges also say they planned to shoot Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, author of the controversial Prophet Mohammed caricatures.
All the men were arrested last year in Oslo and Germany following a Police Security Service (PST) raid. Authorities suspected they had planned to bomb the Chinese Embassy, with one of the three trying to obtain Hydrogen Peroxide from a pharmacy. This failed due to PST intervention.
It is also believed the plotters are connected to al-Qaida, and the case has ties to the United States.
The three men arrived in Norway between 1999 and 2002. Mr Davud and Bujak remain in custody while Mr Jakobsen, who served as an informant for the PST, has been released.
None of the suspects admit their guilt, but face up to 12 years in prison if convicted.
The three men risk prison sentences of up to 12 years, Evanger said.
Investigators believe the plot was linked to the same al-Qaeda planners behind 2009 schemes to blow up New York’s subway and a British shopping mall.
An Associated Press investigation last year showed all three plots were thwarted after suspected operatives exchanged emails – sometimes poorly coded – in and out of Pakistan.
Davud, a 40-year-old ethnic Uighur from China, was charged with receiving explosives training at an al-Qaeda training camp in Pakistan and agreeing to blow up one of several offices of Jyllands-Posten in Denmark.
Bujak and Jakobsen are accused of joining the plot in 2009 and helping acquire bomb-making chemicals.
Police say they had the men under surveillance and even replaced a vital ingredient with a harmless liquid to ensure they would not succeed in building a bomb.
Davud and Bujak, a 38-year-old Iraqi Kurd, were also charged with plotting to shoot Westergaard.
Westergaard drew the most controversial of the 12 cartoons, featuring Mohammed with a lit fuse in his turban. He was the victim of a murder attempt last year and has received several death threats.
Davud and Bujak have been held in custody since their arrest and have both admitted they were planning an attack, although their versions have differed on who their target was, the first saying it was the Chinese embassy in Oslo and the second claiming it was Jyllands-Posten.
Jakobsen has denied any responsibility and is currently a free man. He became a police informant in November 2009 but still faced charges for his involvement in the plot before then.
All three suspects deny any links to al-Qaeda.
In Norway, plotting a terrorist act alone is not a crime. If at least two people are involved they can be convicted of conspiracy.
The trial is set to begin on October 31.
Here are the Mohammed cartoons:
Danish Muhammad Cartoonist Kurt WestergaardA very good question. You remember the story from yesterday, which I carried here.
Labour (Ap) MP Arild Stokkan-Grande, wants police to clarify why they chose to send the cartoonist back to Denmark instead of offering him protection.
“The police have to explain what they really meant by doing this. What is the purpose of providing this kind of advice? The primary goal of those behind these threats is to gag people and spread fear. Police let these dark forces win when they do nothing but recommend people not to show themselves at debates and in public places,” he told VG, saying he did not necessarily share Mr Westergaard’s political views.
Upholding the value of freedom of speech, Mr Stokkan-Grande continued, “If this spreads, I’m afraid this could mean we have already lost much of our freedom by giving in to those who want to threaten us to silence. Each example of this is an attack on us all.”
So, every time Westergaard is asked to speak, receive an award or go on holiday, he will be asked to leave the country due to security concerns?
Guess the radical Islamists have won by the mere threat of terror.
Norway should re-examine its security protocols.
The Islamists will never leave Kurt Westergaard in peace.
A Danish cartoonist targetted by Islamists for his 2005 caricature of the Prophet Mohammed cut short a visit to Norway after police caught wind of a possible attack against him, he said Tuesday.
Kurt Westergaard, 76, has already been the victim of a murder attempt and numerous death threats after drawing the most controversial of the 12 cartoons of the Prophet that appeared in the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten, depicting his turban with a lit fuse in it.
Westergaard had been scheduled to attend the launch in Oslo on Tuesday of a children’s book for which he provided the illustrations, but he cancelled and returned to Denmark late Monday after Norway’s intelligence agency PST was informed of a possible plot against him.
“I was told to return home immediately, the official version being that I had heart problems,” he told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.
“It’s something that was decided by the Norwegian and Danish intelligence agencies (PST and PET) and so I returned home immediately,” he said, adding that he had no health complaints in reality.
Westergaard lives with 24 hour security after an axe-wielding Somali broke into his hon=me in January 2010.
All of this for a cartoon of Mohammed.
A court in Denmark has found a Somali man guilty of attempted terrorism for trying to kill a cartoonist whose portrayal in 2005 of the prophet Mohammad, led to outrage in the muslim world.Wow, the prosecutor says nine years is not enough for this miscreant.
An appeals court has begun a trial against a Somali man convicted of terrorism for breaking into the home of a Danish cartoonist who caricatured the Prophet Muhammad.
The prosecutor on Wednesday asked the Western High Court to raise Muhideen Mohammed Geelle’s prison sentence to 12 years from the nine years given by a lower court in February. A verdict is expected next week.
News report on the sentencing of Mohamed Geele who was convicted of attempted murder of Danish Muhammad Cartoonist Kurt WestergaardMohamed Geele who was convicted on attempted murder of Danish Muhammad Cartoonist Kurt Westergaard was sentenced today to nine years in prison.
The man who broke into Mohammed cartoonist Kurt Westergaard’s home on New Year’s Day last year has been sentenced to nine years in prison for attempting to commit an act of terrorism. The 29-year-old Somalian, Mohamed Geele will also be deported after his sentence.
Today’s sentence was handed down by the Aarhus Municipal Court after a unanimous jury found Geele guilty yesterday. In addition to the terrorism charge, he was also found guilty of attempted murder against Westergaard, whose drawing of Mohammed with a bomb-shaped turban was one of 12 depictions of the prophet published in 2005 by Jyllands-Posten newspaper.
Geele, who was armed with an axe and a knife during the attack, had also been charged with the attempted murder of a police officer during the attack but was convicted of the lesser charge of aggravated assault.
Geele has appealed the decision to the Western High Court. His attorney, Niels Christian Strauss, said he disagreed with the court’s decision that breaking into Westergaard’s home and attempting to kill him constituted terrorism because it was meant to scare the public and destabilise society.
Strauss argued that an attack on an individual did not meet the definition of terrorism.
The court in the city of Aarhus sentenced Muhudiin Mohamed Geele to be expelled from Denmark and banned from the country for life after serving his sentence, a police official said.
From September 2009 to the time of the attack, the convicted man sought information on the Internet many times about militant Islamic groups’ opinions on the Mohammad drawings and Westergaard, the court said in the statement.
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, Danish media reported.
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.
For attempted murder, this is a relatively light sentence. But as long as he has NO chance of parole for nine years and will be deported, he will not be a threat to Westergaard again. However, unfortunatley, Westergaard will have to live in fear while the next Muslim extremist attempts to kill him.
And, over what?
He was convicted of attempted terrorism and attempted murder.
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.
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.
Now, this moron can rot in prison for the rest of his life. He will be sentenced tomorrow.
“I am an old, peaceful man and I am not vindictive but I am very satisfied,” Westergaard told The Associated Press. “I’ve never been in doubt that he was a terrorist who wanted to kill me. He was a holy warrior yelling and shouting as he was hammering the ax on the bathroom door.”
He could face life in prison, although such sentences are generally reduced to 16 years under Danish law. Prosecutors earlier had demanded that the defendant is (be) expelled from Denmark after serving the sentence.
The Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard testified in the trial of Mohamed Geele today.
Testifying in a terrorism trial, Kurt Westergaard said he feared he would be “slaughtered” by the 29-year-old intruder who stormed into the house on New Year’s Day, 2010.
“He was like a religious, insane young man. I believed he entered the house as a holy warrior who wanted to kill an infidel,” Westergaard told the court in Aarhus, Denmark’s second-largest city.
Westergaard locked himself inside a panic room and escaped the attack unharmed.
The defendant, who cannot be named under a court order, told the court as the trial opened Wednesday that he just wanted to scare the cartoonist and didn’t intend to hurt him.
Westergaard said that was untrue, calling the defendant a “madman” as well as a “cowardly liar.”
Yeah, this moron enters someone’s home wielding an axe, hurls it at a police officer and it is presumed he just wants to scare the occupant.
A verdict in this trial is expected in early February.
The Muhammad Cartoon Archive
Danish Muhammad Cartoonist Kurt WestergaardKurt Westergaard’s, the Danish Cartoonist made famous by his depiction of the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb on his head, attacker, Mohamed Geele, went to trial today.
A 29-year-old Somali man charged with trying to kill the cartoonist behind the most controversial Danish Prophet Mohammed caricature went on trial Wednesday in the central town of Aarhus.
The man, named in court as Mohamed Geele, could face life in prison if convicted of the charges of attempted terrorism, attempted murder, attacking a police officer and illegal arms possession.
The hearing was transferred to a larger court due to the number of journalists covering the case.
On January 1 last year, the suspect broke into the home of cartoonist Kurt Westergaard — who had drawn the Prophet Mohammed with a bomb-shaped turban — wielding an axe and saying he wanted to kill him.
Westergaard, now 75, rushed into a bathroom that had been fortified and transformed into a panic room to “seek safety and call the police.”
Police shot the man twice and wounded him before placing him under arrest.
Since his arrest the Somali has denied any wrongdoing, but according to Danish intelligence police, he is believed to be close to the Shebab Islamist movement, which has declared allegiance to Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network and controls most of southern and central Somalia.
The trial is set to last nine days and the verdict is expected in the first week of February.
Kurt Westergaard is expected to testify tomorrow under heavy security.
You remember the story about the axe-wielding Somali who busted into Westergarrd’s home.
Danish police intelligence said they believed the “attempted assassination … is terror related” and accused the man, who was not named, of having links with Somalia’s al-Shabaab militant group as well as al Qaeda militants.
The cartoonist, 74, pushed a panic button, fled to a safe room and was unhurt when police arrived. His grand-daughter was in the house during the attack. Police could not confirm reports he had tried to break down the safe room door with the axe.
Westergaard, who in 2005 depicted Prophet Mohammad with a bomb in his turban, has been under police protection since his caricatures of the Prophet led to death threats.
The Somali man appeared in court on a stretcher with a hand and leg in plaster casts due to gunshot wounds from a police officer who had narrowly dodged the axe thrown at him by the intruder who was trying to evade arrest, police said.
The accused did not speak in court, but denied the charges through his lawyer.
The Security and Intelligence Service PET, a department of the national police, said in a statement: “It is PET’s impression that the attempted assassination of the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard is terror related.”
The man, the PET said, “has close relations to the Somali terror organization al-Shabaab and al Qaeda leaders in East Africa, and he is also suspected of having been involved in terror-related activities during his stay in East Africa.”
It also accused him of involvement in a terror-related network with links to Denmark, where he has a residence permit.
Well, this week the 75 year old cartoonist will face the Somali terrorist who attempted to murder him on New Years Day in 2010 – a year ago.
Westergaard and his granddaughter were unharmed.
“I got away. But he’s the real victim, who is likely going to sit behind bars for quite a while and will have enough time to think through what happened,” Westergaard told AP this week about the intruder, a 29-year-old Somali man charged with terrorism and attempted murder.
The defendant, who cannot be named under a court order, denies the charges, his lawyer Niels Christian Straus said. He declined to say what his client was doing at Westergaard’s house, saying he’ll explain it as the trial begins at the city court in Aarhus, Denmark’s second largest city.
If convicted of terror, the defendant could face life in prison, although such sentences are generally reduced to 16 years under Danish law.
Westergaard’s security was ramped up even further after the break-in. Police temporarily moved him and his wife from their house in Aarhus. He’s now permanently escorted by earpiece-wearing bodyguards from PET, the Danish security service.
They are sure to accompany him to the court hearings, which are expected to draw large crowds. Westergaard is scheduled to testify on Thursday.
He said he was glad that the trial was finally getting started, so he could get on with his life, even though the infamous cartoon will forever be a part of it.
“The drawing will follow me into my retirement home and later to my tomb,” Westergaard said.
Here is the famous drawing: