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Swede 'supposed to die' in Copenhagen terror attack

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Lars Vilks. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT
16:18 CET+01:00
UPDATED: Swedish artist Lars Vilks was the intended target of the Copenhagen terror attacks a year ago according to one of the men on trial for helping the killer.
Four men aged between 21 and 31 are accused of helping the gunman behind the twin attacks on a Copenhagen synagogue and at a culture centre last year that left two people dead.
 
On Thursday, a week after the trial got under way, one of them told the court in the Danish capital that the Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who survived the shooting at the free speech gathering, had been the intended target.
 
"It wasn't the one who was supposed to die. It was the Mohammed cartoonist," said Bhostan Khan Hussein.
 
According to Danish media, it is the first time the suspect has given his version of what happened, having previously refused to speak to police after he was first detained.
 
Vilks gained international notoriety in 2007 for a cartoon portraying the Prophet Muhammad as a dog. He was speaking at a debate on Islam and freedom of expression when a gunman fired a volley of shots into the Krudttønden cultural centre leaving a 55-year-old film maker dead and three police officers wounded.
 
 
The trial, which is expected to last until September, is focusing on events in the hours between the attack and the second shooting at a synagogue, during which time the four men are accused of having aided the killer, Omar El-Hussein.
 
If found guilty, they all risk a term of life imprisonment, which in Denmark means they would be entitled to a pardoning hearing after 12 years.
 
After lifting a ban on disclosing their identities, the court named the group last week as Liban Ahmed Saleban Elmi, 20, Ibrahim Khalil Abbas, 23, and Mahmoud Rabea, 31, as well as Bhostan Khan Hussein, who is 26.

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The prosecution, which has set aside 30 days for the trial over seven months, believes it can show that the four were in close contact with El-Hussein.
 
However all of the suspects maintain that they are innocent.
 
The trial continues.

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