Four guilty of Danish plot over Muhammad cartoons

Danish police meet a car carrying one of the defendants to court in Glostrup, Copenhagen, 13 April The trial of the four men took place in Glostrup, outside the capital Copenhagen

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Four men have been sentenced to 12 years in prison by a Danish court which found them guilty of planning a terrorist attack on newspaper offices.

The court heard the men wanted to kill people in revenge for Jyllands-Posten's publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in 2005.

The four were all Muslims resident in Sweden. Police said they were arrested just hours before the foiled attack.

All the men had denied charges of terrorism against them.

The Copenhagen-based newspaper's publication of the cartoons of Muhammad sparked protests in Muslim countries.

Target

Munir Awad, Omar Abdallah Aboelazm and Munir Ben Mohamed Dhahri, a Tunisian citizen, were picked up by police on 29 December 2010 at a flat near Copenhagen.

Sabhi Ben Mohamed Zalouti was arrested a day later after crossing into Sweden, then extradited back to Denmark.

Swedish and Danish intelligence officials tracked the men - who all lived in Sweden but were either born or had parents born in Tunisia, Egypt and Lebanon - for a number of months ahead of the arrests.

A machine-gun with a silencer, a pistol and 108 bullets, and rolls of duct tape were among items found in the men's possession when they were arrested.

The indictment said the men had deliberately planned to frighten the population of Denmark.

Prosecutors said that they had intended to kill "an unknown number" of people during the attack, which had been due to take place on the same day as a sporting award ceremony attended by Crown Prince Frederik.

Denmark remains a target for Islamist militants almost seven years since Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons showing the Prophet Muhammad in a variety of humorous or satirical situations.

One showed Muhammad carrying a lit bomb on his head decorated with the Muslim declaration of faith instead of a turban.

Many Muslims said the cartoons were extremely and deliberately offensive. Some also saw them as an attack on their faith and culture designed to sow hatred. Islamic tradition prohibits images of God, Muhammad and all major figures of the Christian and Jewish traditions.

At the time, Danish flags were burned and embassies were attacked.

Jyllands-Posten eventually apologised but that did not stop a number of attacks in connection with the cartoons.

One man broke into the house of one of the cartoonists and tried to kill him with an axe, while another bungled an attempt to bomb the newspaper's offices.

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