(RTTNews) - Kurt Westergaard, a Danish cartoonist whose controversial drawings of Prophet Muhammad in 2005 outraged Muslims around the world, testified on Thursday against a Somali man who is accused of attempting to kill him early last year.
The cartoonist said he sought refuge in a panic-room built in his house to escape from the attacker, leaving his five-year-old grand-daughter alone with Geele in the living room. Westergaard said he believed at that time that Geele was "after me, not the people around me."
The cartoonist said Geele then began hacking on the panic-room door with his axe to break it down, adding that he believed to this day that it would have been "certain death if he had managed to break it down."
"He was like a religious, insane young man," the cartoonist said. "I believed he had entered the house as a holy warrior who wanted to kill an infidel."
Geele was arrested later by police officers, who arrived on the scene after Westergaard alerted them about the intruder. The suspect was shot and wounded in the arm and thigh after he attacked the police officers who were attempting to arrest him.
Geele had told the court in the Danish city of Aarhus earlier that he only wanted to "frighten" the cartoonist with his actions. Westergaard, however, dismissed the Somali's claims, calling Geele a "cowardly liar."
Westergaard's cartoon depicting Prophet Muhammad wearing a turban bomb was among twelve such controversial drawings published by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in 2005. They had evoked widespread outrage among Muslims across the world. The newspaper has also been under terror threat for publishing the cartoons.
The Danish Security and Intelligence Service had indicated in a statement released shortly after Geele's arrest that the attack was terror-related, adding that the attacker had close ties with the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab and al-Qaeda leaders in east Africa.
Geele has been charged with attempted murder and terrorism. Though the defendant had admitted to breaking into the house and assaulting a police officer, he pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges. The 29-year-old Somali faces life in prison if convicted of terrorism. A final verdict in the case is expected early next month.
by RTT Staff Writer