Danish Muhammad Cartoonist Kurt Westergaard
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.
Danish Muhammad Cartoonist Kurt Westergaard Calls Attacker Mohamed Geele a “Madman” and a “Cowardly Liar”
Danish Muhammad Cartoonist Kurt Westergaard’s Atacker, Mohamed Geele Goes on Trial
Danish Cartoonist Kurt Westergaard to Face His Attacker in Court
The Muhammad Cartoon Archive
Danish Muhammad Cartoonist Kurt Westergaard
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:
Offices of the Jyllands-Posten Newspaper which published the Muhammed Cartoons
An imminent terrorist plot
against the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten who published the infamous Muhammed Cartoons
was foiled today.
The Danish intelligence agency said Wednesday that it had arrested five men suspected of an “imminent” terror plot against the Danish newspaper that ran controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in 2005.
The arrests come only a couple weeks after central Stockholm was rocked by two explosions that Swedish police have deemed a terror attack. The plots in the two Scandinavian countries are unusual because the region has been largely removed, until now, from the terrorism concerns that grip much of Western Europe.
Three of the men linked to the plot in Denmark are Swedish citizens and one of the five men arrested was arrested in Sweden, the New York Times reported. The men are not connected with the attack in Sweden, in which only the bomber was killed.
he men arrested in Denmark are a 44-year-old Tunisian, a 29-year-old Swede born in Lebanon, a 30-year-old Swede, and a 26-year-old Iraqi asylum seeker. The man arrested in Sweden was a 37-year-old Swede with Tunisian roots, Agence France-Presse reported. The Copenhagen Daily reports that the arrests stem from collaboration between Danish intelligence and Swedish law enforcement in a long-term surveillance operation.
The cartoons, published in 2005 in the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten, featured caricatures of the Prophet, which are considered blasphemous by most Muslims and prompted anger and violent rioting in some Muslim countries.
The men planned to kill as many as possible in the building housing the newspaper, the Copenhagen Daily reports.
The New York Times account of the “Mumbai-style” attack is here.
This is not the first time the newspaper or Kurt Westergaard, the cartoonist who drew the Muhammed Cartoons. Remember the Somali who was linked to Radical Islamic al-Shabab and al Qaeda who tried to assassinate Westergaard with an axe?
And, the attack in Sweden may have been linked to another controversial caartoon.
…the e-mail threat connected to the attack references Lars Vilks, a Swedish cartoonist who drew caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad as a dog in 2007 in the Swedish newspaper Tidningarnas Telegrambyra, the Monitor reported.
“Now, your children — daughters and sisters — will die like our brothers and sisters and children die,” the recording said, according to the Times. “Our actions will speak for themselves. As long as you do not end your war against Islam and the insult against the prophet and your stupid support for that pig Vilks.”
Of course, there was security in the building just as Westergaard had a “panic room” installed in his residence.
The Jyllands-Posten building was already under high security before the arrests, said Lars Munch, the director of the newspaper’s corporate owner, on the newspaper’s Web site. He called the plot “appalling” and said the newspaper was cooperating with Danish police in their investigation.
Prime Minister Loekke Rasmussen of Denmark told reporters that he was “shocked” by the attack.
“Regardless of today’s event, it remains my conviction that terrorism must not lead us to change our open society and our values, especially democracy and free speech,” he said.
And, here are the cartoons that have created this “EXCUSE” for terrorist activities.
And, all of this for what?
Cartoons of Muhammad
The Muhammad Cartoons Archive
Danish Muhammad Cartoonist Kurt Westergaard
Kurt Westergaard is retired now but continues to draw honors for freedom of speech.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised the bravery of a Danish cartoonist who caricatured the Prophet Muhammad at an award ceremony honoring his achievements for freedom of speech.
In her speech praising illustrator Kurt Westergaard, “who has had to fear for his life since the publication of the cartoons in 2005,” Merkel emphasized Wednesday that media freedom is an important element of rights in Europe.
“It does not matter if we think his cartoons are tasteful or not, if we think they are necessary and helping or not,” Merkel said at the ceremony in the city of Potsdam. The question, she said, was, “Is he allowed to do this? Yes, he is.”
There have been at least three attempted attacks on the 75-year-old Westergaard or his newspaper, the Danish the Jyllands-Posten, since he and 11 other artists angered Muslims around the world by creating the Muhammad cartoons four years ago. Protesters in Muslim countries have torched Danish and other Western embassies.
Westergaard’s cartoon, which he said took 45 minutes to draw, was considered by many Muslims the most offensive of the 12. He has rejected calls to apologize, saying poking fun at religious symbols is protected by Denmark’s freedom of speech.
Of course, not everyone was pleased.
Merkel’s appearance at the award ceremony drew criticism from Muslim groups, who perceived it as an endorsement of Westergaard’s cartoon. Aiman Mazyek, general secretary of Germany’s Muslim Council, told public radio Deutschlandradio that Merkel is honoring the cartoonist who sullied “our Prophet … and thereby all Muslims.”
Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, rejected the criticism and said Merkel’s message was to underscore the importance of freedom of speech.
Westergaard continues to live under police protection.