Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Danish cartoonist 'feared for life'

Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who caricatured the Prophet Muhammad, told a court he feared he would be 'slaughtered'
Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who caricatured the Prophet Muhammad, told a court he feared he would be 'slaughtered'

A Danish cartoonist who caricatured the Prophet Muhammad has told a court how he feared he would be "slaughtered" by an axe-wielding Somali man who broke into his home.

Kurt Westergaard said the 29-year-old intruder who stormed into the house on New Year's Day, 2010, wanted to kill him and was lying about the purpose of the attack.

"He was like a religious, insane young man. I believed he entered the house as a holy warrior who wanted to kill an infidel," Mr Westergaard told the court in Aarhus.

Mr Westergaard locked himself inside a panic room and escaped the attack unharmed.

The defendant, who cannot be named under a court order, told the court as the trial opened on Wednesday that he just wanted to scare the cartoonist and not hurt him.

Mr Westergaard said that was untrue, calling the defendant a "madman" as well as a "cowardly liar".

Mr Westergaard's drawing was one of 12 cartoons of Muhammad published by a Danish newspaper in September 2005, triggering violent protests across the Muslim world four months later.

The defendant, who was shot in the knee by police as he left Mr Westergaard's house, is charged with terrorism and with "assault with intent to kill" for hurling the axe at a police officer.

He has pleaded not guilty, though he acknowledges acting violently toward the police.

If convicted of terrorism, the defendant could face life in prison.

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