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Somali Man Sentenced to Prison in Murder Attempt of Danish Cartoonist

COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- A Danish appeals court on Wednesday sentenced a Somali man to 10 years in prison for breaking into the home of a cartoonist who caricatured the Prophet Muhammad.

The Western High Court in Aarhus added an extra year to a nine-year sentence given by a lower court to Muhideen Mohammed Geelle in February. He was sentenced a day after the court found him guilty of a terror attempt.

The 30-year-old Geelle entered Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard's home on New Year's Day 2010 armed with an ax. Westergaard locked himself inside a panic room and was unharmed. Police arrived and apprehended Geelle after shooting him in the leg.

"This is a question of a terror-related murder attempt," prosecutor Kirsten Dyrman said. "It is a very serious sentence for a very serious crime."

The prosecutors, however, did not link Geelle to any terrorist group.

The Western High Court said Geelle will be deported from Denmark after serving his term.

"Both I and my client are surprised that (the sentence) has been increased," defense lawyer Niels Christian Strauss said.

Strauss said he would seek to appeal the ruling to Denmark's top court.

Geelle had said he did not aim to kill Westergaard but wanted to scare him.

The appeals court also found Geelle guilty of assaulting a policeman after the officers confronted him on arrival at Westergaard's home in Aarhus, northwestern Denmark.

Danish authorities say they have foiled several terror plots linked to the 2005 newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that triggered protests in Muslim countries.

Last month, Chechen-born Lors Doukayev was sentenced to 12 years in prison for preparing a letter bomb that exploded in a Copenhagen hotel in 2010. Doukayev, a 25-year-old citizen and resident of Belgium, was wounded when assembling the device which is believed to have been intended for the Jyllands-Posten newspaper that published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.