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Three released over artist 'plot'

A court has decided to release three men charged with plotting to kill Lars Vilks, the Swedish artist who depicted Islam's Prophet Mohammed as a dog.

The Goteborg district court did not give any reasons for the decision - on the final day of the trial - saying it will disclose more information when the verdict is announced on January 20.

The prosecutor has accused the suspects, aged 24 to 26 and of Somali and Iraqi origin, of planning to stab Mr Vilks to death at an art event. The men carried knives when they were arrested on September 10, but have denied the charges.

Mr Vilks's 2007 drawing created tensions in Sweden and led to several threats against him, including from al Qaida.

Depicting Mohammed, even favourably, is considered blasphemous by many Muslims.

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