Court hears evidence in cartoon murder plot

A Danish appeals court on Monday heard evidence against two Tunisian nationals held on suspicion of planning to murder a Danish newspaper cartoonist.

A district court last week ordered they were to be kept in custody until August 12 on the grounds they remain a “threat to state security”.

The appeals court was due to rule on Friday if the two were to remain in custody.

The pair were detained in February when security police said they foiled a plot to kill Kurt Westergaard, who in 2005 drew a controversial cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb as a turban.

The Danish security and intelligence service PET last week presented evidence showing one of the suspects had obtained a handgun and that both had watched videos about suicide bombers. They were also alleged to have monitored Westergaard’s home.

The defence on Monday said the evidence was insufficient but the PET refused to enter more evidence, citing it wanted to shield its sources, the Danish news agency Ritzau reported.

The two face deportation to Tunisia, although some legal experts said this might not happen if it can be proved they might be subjected to torture if they return.

Earlier this month, the prosecution dropped its case against a third suspect, a Danish national of Moroccan background.

Westergaard’s cartoon was one of 12 images published in September 2005 by the Jyllands-Posten newspaper. They sparked violent protests in 2006, and Danish companies were boycotted in many Muslim countries.

Leading Danish newspapers republished the cartoons after the alleged plot was disclosed, saying the move was to protect freedom of speech.—Sapa-dpa

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