Terror suspects appear in Danish court | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 30.12.2010
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Terror suspects appear in Danish court

Three suspected Islamist terrorists are to be detained for four weeks a Copenhagen court has ordered. It comes after police foiled a suspected terror plot against the newspaper that published the 2005 Muhammad cartoons.

Jyllands-Posten sign

The Jyllands-Posten caused offense to many Muslims

Three suspects accused of planning a shooting attack on the Copenhagen office of a newspaper that published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad have been ordered to remain in jail for four weeks.

State prosecutor Lykke Sorensen told a court in Glostrup, west of Copenhagen that the men were suspected of attempting to carry out an act of terrorism and possession of illegal weapons.

He referred to the police finding a submachine gun and handgun. According to the Danish secret service, PET, the men planned to kill as many people as possible.

The three men had been living in Sweden and were arrested on their way to Copenhagen. One suspect was born in Tunisia, another in Iraq and the third had Swedish nationality and an unknown ethnic background.

They pleaded not guilty and refused to speak before the court.

A Danish intelligence official said Thursday that a fourth suspect, a 26-year-old Iraqi asylum seeker, was to be freed but remains a suspect.

A fifth suspect, a Swedish citizen of Tunisian origin, was arrested in Sweden.

Offensive Cartoons

In 2005 Jyllands-Posten published 12 caricatures of the prophet Muhammad, one depicting him with a bomb as a turban. The cartoons caused much offense to the international Muslim community.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle defended the freedom of the press in Europe.

"Freedom of Speech is as important as the air that we breathe," Westerwelle said.

The events in Sweden and Denmark showed that the terrorism threat was still very real, according to Wolfgang Wieland, the expert for interior affairs for the Green party.

But a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry said the foiled attack in Denmark had not heightened the threat to Germany.

"The terror-alert remains the same in Germany", the spokesperson.

Six weeks ago, interior minister Thomas de Maiziere warned of a possible terrorist attack on Germany by Islamists. Since then heightened security measures have come into effect across the country.

Author: Natalia Dannenberg (AP, dpa)
Editor: Andreas Illmer

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