Lors Doukaev will spend 12 years in a Danish prison for last September’s failed plan to send a letter bomb to the newspaper that published the Mohammed drawings, a court in Copenhagen announced today.
The sentence, which includes permanent expulsion from Denmark after the sentence is served, was handed down a day after a unanimous court found the Chechen-born Belgian citizen guilty of attempted terrorism and weapons possession.
Doukaev was arrested in a Copenhagen park on September 10, after a minor explosion in a near-by hotel.
The 25-year-old, who was the only person injured in the blast, admitted to accidentally setting off the bomb, but told the court he was disarming the package he intended to use to protect himself from other Chechens while staying at the hotel.
The court however did not buy that explanation and convicted Doukaev for attempting to send a letter bomb to the offices of Jyllands-Posten newspaper in retaliation for the 2005 publication of 12 caricatures of the prophet Mohammed.
Doukaev’s only comment to the court today before receiving his sentence was to maintain his innocence.
As he was prosecuted under terrorism legislation passed in the wake of the September 11 attacks, Doukaev could have been sentenced to 16 years. Earlier in the day, however, the prosecution said it would ask the court for a 12-year sentence.
After expressing disappointment yesterday at the court’s unanimous decision, Doukaev’s lawyer, Niels Anker Rasmussen, said today he was “surprised” that the court had followed the prosecution’s recommendation.
Previous terrorism trials have resulted in similar sentences, but Rasmussen said those cases involved much larger quantities of explosives.
He compared the Doukaev case with the case against a Somali immigrant sentenced to nine years in February for attempting to kill Mohammed cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.
Among the evidence presented against Doukaev were envelopes with the address of the newspaper written on them, as well as computer records showing that he had visited the website of the newspaper while in Copenhagen.
In addition, the prosecution said the bomb was fashioned according to a manual found in a Liege, Belgium flat where a friend of Doukaev lived. Also found in the same flat were videos promoting Islamic jihad.
Doukaev’s defence explained he was visiting the website to read job advertisements, and added that there was no evidence to support the charges he was seeking to avenge publication of the drawings.
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