COPENHAGEN, Denmark – A Danish court on Thursday declared a Somali man guilty of terrorism for using an ax to break into the home of a Danish cartoonist who had caricatured the Prophet Muhammad.
The 29-year-old defendant entered Kurt Westergaard's home in the northwestern town of Aarhus on New Year's Day in 2010. The cartoonist locked himself inside a panic room and was unharmed.
Westergaard's drawing was one of 12 cartoons of Muhammad published by a Danish newspaper in September 2005, triggering violent protests across the Muslim world.
"I am an old, peaceful man and I am not vindictive but I am very satisfied," Westergaard told The Associated Press. "I've never been in doubt that he was a terrorist who wanted to kill me. He was a holy warrior yelling and shouting as he was hammering the ax on the bathroom door."
When the Somali man broke into Westergaard's house, the cartoonist rushed inside the bathroom — reinforced with a metal-plated door to serve as a panic room — and alerted police.
During the trial, the defendant, who cannot be named under a court order, said he wasn't planning to kill Westergaard but just wanted to scare him.
The Aarhus city court sided with prosecutors and labeled the attack an act of terror. It also found the man guilty of assaulting a police officer but acquitted him of attempted murder for throwing the ax at police when they confronted him in Westergaard's home.
The Somali man listened quietly and calmly when Judge Ingrid Thorsboe read the verdict. Defense lawyer Niels Christian Strauss said they had not yet decided whether to appeal the verdict.
A sentence is expected Friday.
He could face life in prison, although such sentences are generally reduced to 16 years under Danish law. Prosecutors earlier had demanded that the defendant is expelled from Denmark after serving the sentence.
Prosecutor Kirsten Dyrman had argued the defendant intended to kill Westergaard and the crime should be viewed as terrorism because it aimed to "seriously frighten the population" and destabilize Denmark.
The defendant decided to break into Westergaard's home after reading on the Internet that the 75-year-old Dane "was proud of the drawing and wanted to do more."