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Denmark's rebel poet Hassan gets prison for shooting

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Denmark's rebel poet Hassan gets prison for shooting
Yahya Hassan's lawyer said he was happy to just have the case over with. Photo: Kim Haugaard/Scanpix
15:35 CEST+02:00
Yahya Hassan, the 20-year-old celebrity poet and one-time political candidate, was sentenced to 21 months in prison on Friday for shooting a 17-year-old in the foot.
Hassan, who rocketed to stardom upon the release of his self-titled collection of poems, was hit with a 40,000 kroner fine and had his car and motorcycle confiscated. 
 
Hassan has been in police custody since his March 21st arrest in Aarhus, which capped off a wild period in which the celebrity poet posted a serious of videos on Facebook appearing to show him in open and ongoing conflicts with immigrant gangs. 
 
Hassan became a controversial and outspoken figure in Denmark's fraught debate on Islam and immigration upon the 2013 release of his poetry collection. It has sold more than 120,000 copies and made him the country's best-selling debut poet. 
 
It also put him squarely in the cross hairs of Islamists and at the centre of a number of physical altercations. In November 2013, Hassan was assaulted in Copenhagen Central Station by a then 24-year-old man who attacked the poet for being an “infidel”. 
 
In March 2015, Hassan was found guilty of assault for an incident in Aarhus in which he allegedly punch a local man outside of a restaurant. The following month, he was once again attacked in Copenhagen. Two months later, he had a total of three police run-ins in the course of just one weekend
 
The poet campaigned for the newly founded National Party in last June's general election in Denmark but was forced to resign from the party in February after he was arrested for driving under the influence of illegal drugs. 
 
Hassan did not appeal his sentence on Friday and his lawyer, Michael Juul Eriksen, said he was happy to have a sense of closure. 
 
“He was very happy and told me that we will accept it [the sentence],” Eriksen told news agency Ritzau, adding that he believes his client will be released after serving eight months since he has already spent so much time in police custody. 
 
Hassan's publisher, Gyldendal, said it would continue to work with the poet. 
 
“It's sad to think that Yahya Hassan will now be in prison. I don't have any comment on the verdict itself, but it's good that there is now a decision in the case,” Gyldendal's literary director, Johannes Riis, told Ritzau. 
 
Riis said that the publisher has not received a manuscript for Hassan's follow-up but “looks forward to reading it”.
 
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