Jyllands-Posten plotter found guilty in New York

Abid Naseer faces life in American prison for plotting attacks against Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and targets in the UK and US.

Jyllands-Posten plotter found guilty in New York
The Pakistani planned an attack at Jyllands-Posten's offices in Copenhagen, which it shares with Politiken. Photo: Håkan Dahlström/Flickr
A Pakistani man faces life in prison after being convicted in New York of involvement in an Al Qaeda plot to carry out terror attacks in Denmark, Britain, and the United States, US authorities said Wednesday.
Abid Naseer, 28, is to be sentenced at a later date after being found guilty by a federal jury in New York following his extradition to the United States from Britain, a statement said.
Prosecutors said Naseer and other Al-Qaeda operatives had planned to attack the Copenhagen offices of Jyllands-Posten newspaper, a busy shopping mall in Manchester, England and the New York subway.
Three other men have already been convicted in connection with the conspiracy, which prosecutors said had been intended to "send a message to the United States and its allies."
"Today's verdict sends an even more powerful message in response: the United States will stop at nothing in order to hold those who plot to kill and maim in the name of religion accountable for their grievous crimes," government prosecutor Loretta Lynch said.
Naseer was arrested in Britain in April 2009 with several plotters. A search of an Internet cafe he had frequented revealed exchanges with an Al-Qaeda handler and downloaded jihadi anthems which called for "death in large numbers."
Naseer's was one of many foiled terror plots to have targeted Jyllands-Posten since the newspaper published 12 cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad in September 2005, which caused angry and sometimes deadly protests worldwide. Kurt Westergaard, the artist behind the most controversial of the 12 cartoons, was targeted in a failed murder attempt at his home in 2010 and American-born terrorist David Headley was behind a 2009 plot to storm the newspaper's offices and behead journalists. 
Jyllands-Posten has been under heightened security alert since the January terror attacks in Paris. 
Naseer faces life in prison when he is sentenced at a later date.


‘We have free speech’: Danish PM avoids direct response to China over flag controversy

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen cited freedom of speech in Danish society as she reacted for the first time to demands by the Chinese Embassy in Denmark for an apology over a satirical drawing of the Asian country’s flag.

'We have free speech': Danish PM avoids direct response to China over flag controversy
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen at a conference in Copenhagen on Tuesday. Photo: Niels Christian Vilmann/Ritzau Scanpix

China’s representation in Denmark has demanded that newspaper Jyllands-Posten apologize for a cartoon depicting each of the five yellow stars of the Chinese flag as a coronavirus. The drawing was published in Monday's edition of the newspaper.

READ ALSO: China demands apology over Danish newspaper's cartoon flag 'insult'

Frederiksen commented briefly on the matter on Tuesday prior to a Social Democratic parliamentary party meeting, Jyllands-Posten reports.

“I have nothing else to say about it other than that we have a very, very strong tradition in Denmark, not only for free speech, but also for satirical drawings, and that will continue in the future as well. It is a well-known Danish position, and we won’t change that,” she said.

The PM did not respond directly to the Chinese calls for an apology.

“I just want to say from Denmark and the Danish government's side, all we have to say is that we have freedom of expression in Denmark — also to draw,” Frederiksen said.

There was no further need to explain Denmark’s position to China, she also said.

“I don't think anyone is uncertain about how Denmark works in terms of free speech,” the PM said.

She said her comments could be considered an “official statement on my part” over Denmark’s position on free speech.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Jeppe Kofod expressed similar sentiments in comments given to the same newspaper.

Kofod told Jyllands-Posten he did not, in principle, comment on satire drawings, including the Chinese flag cartoon.

“We have freedom of speech and assembly in Denmark, and it is not for me to debate satirical drawings or comment on this. It is known that we have (free speech), and that is also clear to the Chinese,” Kofod said prior to a meeting in Brussels.