STOCKHOLM (TheBlaze/AP) — An appeals court has acquitted three men accused of plotting to murder a Swedish artist who had depicted the Prophet Muhammad as a dog.
Upholding a lower court’s ruling, the appeals court in Goteborg said Monday there was no conclusive evidence that the three men of Iraqi and Somali origin had planned to kill Lars Vilks in September last year.
This ruling came despite the fact that the men were carrying knives when they were arrested after inquiring about Vilks at an art exhibition where he had been expected to appear but did not do so. TheLocal.se has more about the case:
The prosecutor appealed the district court’s acquittal of the men to the Court of Appeal for Western Sweden because she believed there was sufficient evidence for a conviction.
The three men were arrested along with a fourth man, no longer considered a suspect, by an elite counter-terrorism unit in Gothenburg.
The unit had evacuated hundreds of people from the Röda Sten gallery as it hosted a September art fair “after concluding that there was a threat that could endanger lives or health or cause serious damage”.
The court said the men may have been prepared to use violence against Vilks but found no concrete proof that they planned to kill him.
Vilks lives under police protection after his 2007 drawing led to death threats from militant Islamists. In February of this year, Vilks was egged by protesters while speaking at a university in Sweden — just one of the many examples of the issues he faces after publishing his controversial drawing.