Swedish artist Vilks was target for Copenhagen gunman, court told

Controversial Swedish artist Lars Vilks was the intended target for a gunman who last year carried out deadly attacks in Copenhagen, a Danish court was told Thursday.

During testimony, defendant Bhostan Hossein said gunman Omar el-Hussein had been planning to kill Vilks when he attacked a freedom of speech event in Copenhagen on February 14, 2015.

After the shooting, Hossein said he had met with el-Hussein, who said the wrong man died, news agency Ritzau reported from the Copenhagen District Court.

"He said, 'It wasn't him who was supposed to die. It was that Mohammed cartoonist [Vilks]'," the report quoted Hossein as saying.

Vilks has received death threats for his satirical drawings of the prophet Mohammed and is under police protection.

The artist said he was not surprised by Hossein's testimony, noting to Danish broadcaster DR that he had been billed as one of the speakers at the event.

A Danish filmmaker was killed in the attack. El-Hussein later killed a young Jewish man at the Danish capital's main synagogue before he was shot dead by police outside his apartment.

Hossein is one of four men on trial charged with terrorism linked to the synagogue attack. Two police officers were also injured.

The four were accused of aiding el-Hussein in various ways, such as giving him ammunition for handguns, a bag and clothing. Two of the suspects also allegedly helped dispose of an automatic rifle used in the first shooting.

The men have denied charges of being accessories to murder and attempted murder.

The suspects face life imprisonment if convicted of terrorism. The trial is expected to last 30 days, with sentencing due in September if they are found guilty.

Last update: Thu, 17/03/2016 - 17:55

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