New Hearing Ordered for Two Jailed on Alleged Danish Cartoon Murder Plot

The Danish Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered a new detention hearing for two Tunisian men held on suspicion of plotting to kill one of the cartoonists behind the Prophet Muhammad drawings that sparked a deadly uproar in the Muslim world two years ago.

The two men, whose names were not released, have been held since their Feb. 12 arrest, pending possible deportation without trial. Denmark's PET intelligence agency has said it considers the men threats to national security.

The men are accused of plotting to murder Kurt Westergaard, a 73-year-old cartoonist who drew one of the 12 Muhammad caricatures that were first published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in September 2005.

The cartoons were later reprinted by a range of Western publications, bringing violent protests and attacks on Danish embassies in parts of the Muslim world. Islamic law generally opposes any depiction of the prophet, even favorable, for fear it could lead to idolatry.

The high court sent the case back to the lower court that ordered the detention. The ruling said that previous orders were based on insufficient evidence because the intelligence service withheld classified information.

"The Supreme Court has found that the city court and the district courts rulings have not lived up to the demands that must be met," a high court news release said, "The Supreme Court's decision does not mean that the two Tunisians can be released."

The Tunisians, aged 25 and 36, sought asylum after their residence permits expired while they were in jail. They cannot be deported until their asylum application has been processed.

A date for the new hearing was not immediately set.