Abid Naseer, a 29-year-old Pakistani who was extradited from the UK to the US, was given a 40-year prison sentence in a federal court in New York on Tuesday for terrorist plots in several countries, including Denmark. Prosecutors had hoped for a life sentence.
American officials said that Naseer was involved in a plot to target the Copenhagen offices of Jyllands-Posten newspaper, which sparked deadly protests in the Muslim world with its publication of caricatures of Mohammed.
His other planned targets included New York City and Manchester, England.
UK officials arrested Naseer and 11 other men in 2009 for planning an attack on a Manchester shopping mall.
A search of an Internet cafe frequented by Naseer revealed exchanges with an Al-Qaeda handler and downloaded jihadi anthems which called for “death in large numbers.”
According to the BBC, the men were ordered to leave the UK but Naseer was allowed to stay after a judge ruled that he would not be safe in his native Pakistan.
In 2010, US prosecutors requested that the UK arrest him again on the suspicion that he was involved in al-Qaeda plans to attack the New York subway system and Jyllands-Posten.
According to the US Justice Department, the plots were “directed by and co-ordinated with senior al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan”.
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’s Copenhagen offices have had increased security since 2005. Envelopes are scanned for suspicious substances, windows are made of blast-resistant glass and fire alarms that previously resulted in a cigarette break and some chitchat can now force staff to seek shelter inside one of several panic rooms.