Somali Man Breaks into Home of Danish Cartoonist Who Caricatured Prophet Muhammad

February 3, 2011 - 11:35 AM
Somali Ax man found guilty in attack on cartoonist

Copenhagen, Denmark (AP) - A Danish court on Thursday declared a Somali man guilty of terrorism for using an ax to break into the home of a Danish cartoonist who had caricatured the Prophet Muhammad.

The 29-year-old defendant entered Kurt Westergaard's home in the northwestern town of Aarhus on New Year's Day in 2010. The cartoonist locked himself inside a panic room and was unharmed.

Westergaard's drawing was one of 12 cartoons of Muhammad published by a Danish newspaper in September 2005, triggering violent protests across the Muslim world.

During the trial, the defendant, who cannot be named under a court order, said he wasn't planning to kill Westergaard but just wanted to scare him.

The Aarhus city court sided with prosecutors and labeled the attack an act of terror. It also found him guilty of assaulting a police officer but acquitted him of attempted murder for throwing the ax at police when they confronted him in Westergaard's home.

A sentence was expected Friday.

Prosecutor Kirsten Dyrman had argued the defendant intended to kill Westergaard and the crime should be viewed as terrorism because it aimed to "seriously frighten the population" and destabilize Denmark.

The defendant decided to break into Westergaard's home after reading on the Internet that the 75-year-old Dane "was proud of the drawing and wanted to do more."