Europe

'Muhammad cartoon plotters' charged in Denmark court

Danish police officers escort one of four suspects, (second from right), arrested on suspicion of planning a shooting attack on the office of a newspaper that published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, at a court in Glostrup, west of Copenhagen, 30 December 2010
Image caption Three of the suspects appeared in a Danish court on Thursday morning

Three men have been charged in a Danish court with attempting to carry out an act of terrorism.

They were arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of plotting to attack the offices of a newspaper which printed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

A fourth man has been released while a fifth, arrested in Sweden, is still being held in Stockholm.

The three men were remanded in custody for four weeks by a court in Glostrup, west of Copenhagen.

For the first two weeks they will be held in isolation, according to Lykke Soerensen, who heads the legal department of Danish intelligence agency PET.

She told the TV2 channel that isolation was necessary because of concerns that the three men might try to "affect the investigation and affect the witnesses".

The suspects, who pleaded not guilty, are also charged with possession of illegal weapons.

The three men charged are all Swedish residents, although one is reported to have been born in Lebanon, and another in Tunisia.

An Iraqi-born Danish resident was released but it is reported that police still consider him a suspect.

The fifth alleged member of the group is expected to appear in a Stockholm court in connection with the plot on Thursday afternoon.

On Wednesday, the head of PET, Jackob Scharf said the men were part of "a militant Islamic group with links to international terrorist networks" and that they aimed to "carry out a Mumbai-style attack".

166 people were killed in the attacks by 10 gunmen in Mumbai in November 2008.

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