Terror trial of Swedes begins in Denmark

The trial of four Swedes accused of plotting a revenge attack on a Danish newspaper that printed caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed has started in Denmark.

The four men - three citizens and one resident of Sweden - are accused of terrorism and illegal possession of weaponry and could face 16 years in prison if found guilty.

A lawyer for one of the accused, Mounir Ben Mohamed Dhahri, said today before the trial that his client would plead guilty to the weapons violation but not guilty to the terrorism charge.

Three of the four accused were arrested in December 2010 while they were allegedly on their way to carry out a violent shooting attack on the Jyllands-Posten newspaper that published 12 cartoons of the prophet in 2005.

Surrounded by heavily armed police, the four defendants were led in handcuffs into the media-packed courtroom just outside the capital of Copenhagen.

The men - Munir Awad, Omar Abdalla Aboelazm, Mounir Ben Mohamed Dhahri and Sabhi Ben Mohamed Zalouti - could face 16 years in prison if found guilty, while prosecutors were expected to ask that the men be deported from Denmark after serving their sentence.

Awad, Aboelazm and Zalouti are likely to plea not guilty to both the terrorism and weapons accusations.

Three of the four defendants were arrested in December 2010 while allegedly on their way to carry out a violent shooting attack on the Jyllands-Posten newspaper that published 12 cartoons of the prophet in 2005.

The fourth, Sabhi Ben Mohamed Zalouti, left the car while it was en route and returned to Stockholm, where he was arrested the same day as the others.

News of the group’s alleged attack plans sent a tremor through the largely peaceful Danish society, which is attempting to lay to rest the 2005 cartoon debacle.

The trial will last approximately two months, with a verdict expected in mid-June.

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