Four on trial in Denmark over Prophet Mohammad cartoons attack plot

By Reuters Staff
April 13, 2012

(Students belonging to Islami Jamiat-e-Talba group chant slogans against the republication of cartoons of Prophet Mohammad in Danish newspapers during a protest near the Danish Embassy in Islamabad March 13, 2008. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood)

Four men went on trial in Denmark on Friday accused of plotting a “Mumbai-style” attack on the offices of a Danish newspaper whose publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in 2005 outraged many Muslims.

The three Swedish citizens and one Tunisian pleaded not guilty to charges of terrorism and three of the four pleaded not guilty to illegal possession of weapons. Prosecutors have said they could face life sentences if found guilty.

They are accused of plotting to kill a large number of people in an armed attack on the offices of the daily Jyllands-Posten in Copenhagen’s Town Hall square at the end of 2010 and with trying to terrify the population.

“It is our perception that an unknown number of people were to be killed by shooting,” chief prosecutor Gyrithe Ulrich told TV2 News outside the courthouse before the trial began.

Standing trial are Mounir Ben Mohamed Dhahri, a Tunisian citizen, and three Swedish citizens – Lebanese-born Munir Awad, Omar Abdalla Aboelazm, born in Sweden to a Swedish mother and an Egyptian father, and Sahbi Ben Mohamed Zalouti, of Tunisian origin.

All four were living in Sweden at the time of their arrest in December 2010, three days before the alleged attack was to have been carried out.

Awad and Zalouti entered the courtroom wearing handcuffs, while Aboelazm and Dhahri had their hands free. When the judge entered the courtroom, Zalouti rose to his feet only after being urged to do so by his lawyer, the three others stood without prompting.

All four pleaded not guilty to the main charge of terrorism, but Dhari pleaded guilty to illegal possession of weapons.

Read the full story by Mette Fraende here. See also PREVIEW-Denmark to try four in plot on Mohammad cartoons paper?
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