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Danish courts sentences cartoonist attacker to prison

A Somali-born man has been given a nine-year jail term for attacking a Danish cartoonist whose depiction of the prophet Muhammad sparked outrage in the Muslim world. Judges said the attack was an act of terrorism.

A picture of a court gavel, legal books and a set of scales

The Danish judge handed down a nine-year sentence

A court in the western Danish city of Aarhus handed down a nine-year prison sentence to Mohamed Geele on Friday, concluding an affair that has garnered worldwide media attention since the attack took place on New Year's Day in 2010.

The court ruled that the attack was akin to an "attempt to terrify the Danish population and destabilize society," and also ordered his deportation once the sentence is served.

The 29-year-old Somali-born man broke 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.

Kurt Westergaard

Cartoonist Westergaard escaped the attack - narrowly

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.

Numerous death threats

The cartoon, depicting Muhammad with a bomb in his turban, was one of 12 published by the Jyllands-Posten newspaper in 2005. The series provoked outrage throughout the Muslim world and repeated calls on Westergaard's life.

The defendant testified that he had wanted to "frighten Westergaard" since he was "angered by the cartoon."

His lawyer said they would appeal the sentence, while the prosecution said it was pleased with the court's findings.

Author: Gabriel Borrud (AP, Reuters)
Editor: Mark Hallam

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