x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Two convicted of arson on home of Prophet cartoonist

A Swedish court sentenced two brothers to two years in prison for trying to burn down the home of an artist whose depiction of the Prophet Mohammed infuriated Muslims.

STOCKHOLM // A Swedish court convicted two brothers of trying to burn down the home of an artist whose Prophet Mohammed depiction infuriated some Muslims, and sentenced each of them Thursday to more than two years in prison. The attempted arson attack was motivated by a controversial 2007 sketch by artist Lars Vilks that depicted Muhammad as a dog, the Helsingborg District Court said. The defendants, aged 19 and 21, were not identified by name due to Swedish privacy rules.

They denied the charges, saying neither had been at Vilks' house in Nyhamnslage, southern Sweden, on the night of the incident. It was not immediately clear if they would appeal. Vilks was not at home during the May 14 attack, in which several windows were broken and flammable liquid sprayed into the kitchen and on the building's outer walls. Passers-by reported the vandalism to police, who then discovered plastic bottles filled with gasoline outside the house and a coat containing a key to one of the brothers' apartments. They also found evidence the brothers had used a home computer to search for Vilks' home address. The court said the brothers' motive in trying to start the fire also included "putting at risk the life or health of Lars Vilks or another person". The cartoonist has faced numerous threats, including from al Qa'eda, and several attack attempts since the drawing was published more than a year after 12 Danish newspaper cartoons of the prophet sparked furious protests in Muslim countries. Images of the Prophet Mohammed, even favorable ones, are considered blasphemous by many Muslims.

Vilks was also assaulted while giving a university lecture in May, and was targeted in an alleged murder plot involving an American woman who went under the nickname "Jihad Jane," according to US investigators. She has pleaded not guilty in the case. * Associated Press