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Cartoonist's attacker in Denmark guilty of attempted murder

A Danish jury has found a Somali man guilty of attempted murder and terrorism for using an axe to break into the home of Kurt Westergaard and attempting to kill the cartoonist, who had caricatured the Prophet Muhammad.

Jullands-Posten office

The Muhammad cartoons triggered violent protests

A Danish court has found a Somali man guilty of attempted terrorism and attempted murder more than a year after the 29-year-old used an axe to attack a Danish cartoonist who had caricatured the Prophet Muhammad.

Mohamed Geele had broken into the home of Kurt Westergaard on January 1 of last year, screaming "You must die! You are going to hell!", according to the cartoonist's courtroom testimony last month.

The 75-year-old Westergaard said he escaped "certain death" by rushing into a bathroom-turned-panic-room to call police, who rushed to the scene, shooting Geele twice before arresting him.

Kurt Westergaard

Westergaard said he espcaped "certain death"

The Aarhus city court in Denmark on Thursday sided with prosecutors in its verdict, labeling the attack an act of terror and attempted murder. The 29-year-old was sentenced on Friday to nine years in prison.

Prosecutor Lene Lentz told the court that Geele should receive a 12-year jail term.

"Only a metal door (of the bathroom) stopped Kurt Westergaard from being killed," Lentz said. "Attempted terrorism is generally punishable with between 10 and 12 years, while violence against a police officer with at least two years."

Lentz also asked that Geele be expelled from Denmark after serving his term.

Westergaard's cartoon was one of 12 illustrations of the prophet Muhammad published by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in September 2005.

The cartoon depicted the prophet wearing a turban shaped like a bomb with a lit fuse and triggered violent protests across the Muslim world four months later. Westergaard has received numerous death threats since then.

Author: Gregg Benzow, Darren Mara (AP, AFP)
Editor: Nicole Goebel

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