5 Feb 2011

Attacker of cartoonist sentenced to prison

6:58 am on 5 February 2011

A Somali who attacked the home of a Danish cartoonist who caricatured the Prophet Muhammad has been jailed for nine years by a Danish court.

Mohamed Geele, 29, was convicted on Thursday of attempted murder and terrorism after his attack last year on Kurt Westergaard, 75.

Mr Westergaard avoided injury by sheltering in a panic room at his home in the city of Aarhus.

Geele also faces deportation to Somalia at the end of his sentence.

Prosecutors sought 12 years. Defence lawyer Niels Strauss had asked for a suspended sentence of six years at most and for his client not to be deported.

Geele broke into Mr Westergaard's house in Aarhus on New Year's Day 2010, smashing the door down.

Geele was armed with an axe and a knife. He screamed "You must die!" and "You are going to Hell!", the cartoonist told the court.

In its verdict on Thursday, the court noted that the attack had been well planned.

Geele had searched for the cartoonist's address on the internet and, on New Year's Eve, bought the axe and sharpened the knife, which he already possessed.

The convicted man arrived in Denmark in 1995 as a refugee and was granted indefinite leave to remain, according to The New York Times.

According to Danish intelligence, he later developed links to the Islamist movement Al-Shabab in Somalia.