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Court upholds acquittals in Vilks murder plot case

Court upholds acquittals in Vilks murder plot case

Published: 24 Sep 2012 12:14 GMT+02:00
Updated: 24 Sep 2012 12:14 GMT+02:00

A court of appeal in Gothenburg has upheld the acquittal of three men charged with having plotted to murder Swedish artist Lars Vilks.

Following the same line of reasoning applied by the lower court, the appeals court found that there were a number of circumstances that raised suspicions that the three men had been planning an attack on Vilks, who has been the target of numerous death threats since his drawing of the Prophet Muhammad as a dog was first published by a Swedish regional newspaper in 2007.

For example, the suspects were looking for Vilks at an art exhibition at the Röda Sten gallery in Gothenburg on the night of September 11th, 2011 – the night they were arrested.

All three were also carrying knives at the time of their arrests, and had given police faulty information about what they had been doing in the days prior to the arrests.

But according to the court of appeal, there is no concrete evidence linking the suspects to claims by the prosecutor that they intended to murder Vilks, even if the men were no strangers to violence.

The prosecutor appealed the district court's acquittal of the men to the Court of Appeal for Western Sweden because she believed there was sufficient evidence for a conviction.

The three men were arrested along with a fourth man, no longer considered a suspect, by an elite counter-terrorism unit in Gothenburg.

The unit had evacuated hundreds of people from the Röda Sten gallery as it hosted a September art fair "after concluding that there was a threat that could endanger lives or health or cause serious damage".

Vilks had initially said on his blog that he would attend the art fair although he did not in the end.

The three suspects – one Somali citizen and two Swedes in their mid-20s – were all carrying knives when they were arrested and were, according to the prosecution, planning to stab Vilks to death.

The men were initially suspected of terror crimes, but the charges were later downgraded to preparing to commit murder.

All three men were however convicted and fined for violating Sweden's weapons laws.

TT/The Local/dl

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Your comments about this article

13:06 September 24, 2012 by bourgeoisieboheme
I don't think this is the last time we read about these guys in the news. If they were ready to kill before, they will do it again and maybe get away with it. The blood is on the courts hands next time. Lord help the future victims of these animals.
14:19 September 24, 2012 by Ale Komvux
14:21 September 24, 2012 by Swedish Cat
Terrible. We should really have 0 tolerance regarding this type of behaviour. The court just told thease nimals that this is OK i Sweden. I am chocked,
15:39 September 24, 2012 by Morenikeji
This is a very sloppy reporting. When the reporter/s wrote: "For example, the suspects were looking for Vilks at an art exhibition at the Röda Sten gallery in Gothenburg on the night of September 11th, 2011 - the night they were arrested." It's this what the reporter/s know to be true or quoting any authority in the case? For those who have followed the case in the mainstream media, the argument of the prosecutor in this case is not water-tight.

The defence has pointed out the fact that unfortunately many young people carry knifes around in Sweden without even knowing that it is against the law. The prosecutor could not prove that the knifes the accused were carrying was meant to harm Vilks.
17:29 September 24, 2012 by prince T
this is a continued mockery of swedish legal system. I dont blame assange anymore. no retreat no surrentder is the moitve of these people.

they will be more careful next time. to think they will not continue with their terrorisst act is wishful thinking.

somali terrorists are the worst form of terrrorism. they bomb their own people just for watching football world cup, films, celebrating new year day and so on. they are solidly convinced that all somalians are muslims. though i have met christians somalians.
17:34 September 24, 2012 by Richard Head
If this judge wants to be naive about the intentions of these guys then fine, uphold the acquittal, but DEPORT them on the weapons charges!!! Whatever it takes to get these people out of the country, use it. They are of no use to Europe.
21:54 September 24, 2012 by RobinHood
Is there anybody in Sweden, apart from the judges, who doesn't think these guys were after Mr Vilks that night?
08:49 September 25, 2012 by robban70226
ust another example of polis incompetence and naive prosecutors, Well Vilks like to play with fire so why is he like a hole rat hiding? play with fire so be prepare to be burned, no sympathy from me, he get what he deserve .. coward big mouth ''journalist''
09:58 September 25, 2012 by ericrufinosiah
Hopefully,when the national Election comes,the Swedish natives should know

which party to vote,for a better Sweden- land of the great Vikings.
18:35 September 25, 2012 by ctinej
A recent capture of Somali Pirates resulted in their being set free according to international law, but........... somehow they all died before reaching the shore.
11:05 September 27, 2012 by Swedish Cat
Robin Hood,, no, not a singe person was wondering what these guys were doing sept 11 with a knife looking for Viiks.

Please start proving to us that your religion is one of peace and guess what..the so called "racism, slamming, cartoons" will stop! Why do we protect and almost accept that Muslims behave this way? If this was for ex Breivik just failing his mission he would still be prosecuted to as offcourse NOT acceptable. Breivik was also fighting a religious war in what he in his mind strongly believed in... What is the difference?
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