COPENHAGEN, Denmark – A Chechen-born amateur boxer accused of preparing a letter bomb for a Danish newspaper that printed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad pleaded innocent to terrorism Monday at the start of his trial in Copenhagen.
Lors Doukayev, a 25-year-old citizen and resident of Belgium, pleaded guilty to another charge of illegal weapons possession for bringing a handgun and an explosive substance to Denmark.
Doukayev was arrested in September after a small explosion in a hotel bathroom in Copenhagen. Investigators believe he was trying to assemble a letter bomb when it went off by accident.
They say the likely target of the bomb was the Jyllands-Posten newspaper, which sparked fiery protests in Muslim countries by printing 12 cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in 2005.
Dressed in baggy jeans and a leather jacket, Doukayev denied any links to terrorism and said he came to Denmark as a tourist. He told the court that he carried the gun and explosives for personal protection, and that he was trying to dismantle the bomb when it went off.
The device was filled with steel pellets and contained triacetone triperoxide, or TATP, which terrorists used in bombs that killed 52 people in London in 2005. Doukayev received cuts to his face in the explosion but wasn't seriously injured.
Investigators initially had difficulty determining Doukayev's identity, saying he used three different names in his travel documents, and had even scratched the serial number off his prosthetic right leg.
After a newspaper found his boxing coach at a gym in Belgium, Danish police were able to identify him together with Belgian authorities.
During the opening arguments, prosecutors said a letter found in Doukayev's prosthetic leg led police to an apartment in Belgium where they found a bomb-making manual and videos calling for jihad, or holy war.
The trial is expected to end later this month.