Four terrorists jailed over 2010 Danish cartoon plot

Tue, Jun 5, 2012, 01:00

GLOSTRUP – Four men who planned a shooting spree at the office of a Danish newspaper that published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed have been found guilty of terrorism and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

The men were arrested in late December 2010 just hours before they planned to carry out a violent attack on the Jyllands-Posten’s offices in Copenhagen.

The Glostrup City Court yesterday handed down 12-year sentences to Mounir Ben Mohamed Dhahri, Munir Awad, Omar Abdalla Aboelazm and Sabhi Ben Mohamed Zalouti.

The men, Swedish residents of north African and Middle Eastern origin, were under surveillance by Swedish and Danish intelligence agencies at the time but denied the charges during the trial.

The four gave conflicting explanations about the purpose of their journey, which included new year celebrations in the Danish capital and travel in Sweden.

Denmark has been in the crosshairs of Islamist terror groups since the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in 2005, an act that offended many Muslims and sparked demonstrations and rioting in many Muslim countries.

Surveillance recordings played during the trial showed the four men meeting in Stockholm and discussing martyrdom, the Jyllands-Posten newspaper and how they should kill as many people as possible inside the building housing the paper and take one hostage.

The recordings revealed them discussing what to do about women and children, whose lives they were going to spare. At a prayer service in Denmark, the men were heard on a tape saying: “When you meet the infidels, cut their throats”.

Prosecutors say that Dhahri (46), a Tunisian citizen with a Swedish residence permit, disappeared from 2008-10 and is believed to have received terror training in Pakistan. He denied this and said he travelled in Europe and Turkey.

The group left Stockholm on December 28th, 2010, and headed south to Copenhagen, where three of them were arrested the next morning. During the trip, Zalouti left the car and returned to Stockholm, where he was arrested by police the same day.

Danish police found the men in possession of two automatic weapons, 122 rounds of ammunition and more than $20,000 in cash. – (AP)