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Murder plot suspects kept for questioning

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15:17 CET+01:00
The seven people arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of a suspected plot to assassinate Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks have had their periods of detention extended by an Irish court for another three days of questioning.

The four men and three women were detained in Cork and Waterford in Ireland on Tuesday over an alleged international conspiracy to murder Vilks, who controversially depicted the Muslim prophet Muhammad as a dog.

Two Libyan men and a woman - one Algerian man and a Palestinian woman - had their periods of detention extended at the closed court hearing on Wednesday night while a US woman and Croatian man were ordered back into police custody at a brief session on Thursday, according to the Irish Independent newspaper.

Under Section 50 of Ireland's Criminal Justice Act they can be held without

charge for a maximum of seven days, said a spokesman.

A police spokeswoman declined to comment on the Irish Independent report

that the US suspect had visited Ireland on a "fact-finding trip" before her arrest in in the US in October.

LaRose is also thought to have paid a visit to Sweden during her a European trip that took in the Netherlands, according to a US government source cited by the The Washington Post.

The arrest of LaRose when she returned to Philadelphia on October 15th, was not revealed until details of the charges against her were disclosed on Tuesday, hours after the seven Muslims were arrested in an operation coordinated with US and European security agencies.

The regional daily Nerikes Allehanda started the controversy when it first published Vilks' satirical cartoon on August 18, 2007 to illustrate an editorial on the importance of freedom of expression.

On Wednesday, leading Swedish newspapers published the cartoon in a demonstration of solidarity with Vilks.

Sweden's paper of reference Dagens Nyheter insisted that Vilks "is not alone in this conflict" adding in an editorial: "A threat against him is, in the end, a threat against all Swedish people."

The Expressen tabloid also published the cartoon, insisting it was important "to defend freedom of expression which is more and more threatened."

US prosecutors said that LaRose had agreed to carry out the murder of a Swedish resident, pledging "only death will stop me".

The US Justice Department has hitherto declined to confirm if LaRose was connected to the alleged plot to kill Vilks.

Lars Vilks has a $100,000 bounty on his head from an al-Qaeda-linked group.

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