Vollsmose terrorists

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The Vollsmose terrorists are nine people arrested on charges of terrorism by the Danish police in the Vollsmose neighbourhood of Odense on September 5, 2006.[1] According to Danish police, the group had been under investigation for quite a while.

Lene Espersen, the Danish Minister of Justice, called the plot "the most severe ever in Denmark"[1] and said the group were planning one or more terrorist attacks against targets in Denmark. Prosecutors later revealed that the attacks were meant against "a place where political decisions are made" such as the Folketing, the Danish parliament.[2]

Suspects[edit]

Two of the suspects were released the day of their arrest after preliminary questioning. Two others were released after eight weeks in isolation.[3] The two denied any involvement in a terrorist plot.

One of the men, known as Lars, was 33 at the time and was used by the Politiets Efterretningstjeneste (PET) to infiltrate the group.[4] To do so, he posed as a Danish convert to Islam.[3]

The four other suspects were charged with planning acts of terrorism. The names of the suspects have not been disclosed.

The nine original suspects are two Iraqi brothers, one Kurd, five Palestinians and a Danish convert to Islam. At the time of their arrest they were aged 18, 18, 21, 27, 32, 32, 33. Six are Danish citizens.

None of the suspects had a criminal record.

Three or four of the suspects traveled together around Denmark engaging young Muslims in debates on Islam and Dawah

According to the prosecution, the suspects planned their attacks due to the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy and Denmark's participation in the Iraq War.[2]

Evidence[edit]

Security services found ammonium nitrate, metal splinters and a bottle containing TATP explosives at various locations, including the suspects' houses. Ammonium nitrate is used in fertilizer bombs. The metal splinters, used to cause more damage upon explosion, were brought home by one of the suspects from a metal workshop where he worked. The TATP was destroyed by bomb disposal experts due to the instability of the compound.

Personal computers were also confiscated. Apparently they contained bomb making instructions downloaded from the internet.[2]

The Trial[edit]

The trials started in the primo September. Not all information from the trials are made public. On the 10th of September the suspected leader of the group, known as MZ, confirmed that he in fact had been producing the explosive TATP, and had downloaded bomb manuals from the internet [1].

Defence[edit]

The defence claims that the PET mole organized and encouraged the plot.[3] Additionally, he apparently had previous bad experience with Muslims and thereby is not a credible witness.[4]

According to news reports Lars had worked as an integration counselor in Jutland in 2001 when he was attacked by a person of Middle Eastern background. He had been taking medication for depression and anxiety ever since and has asked not to work with people who were not of Danish origin.

Verdict[edit]

Three were convicted. Two were given 11 year sentences, while the third got four years. The prosecution appealed the sentences of those sentenced, and in the Danish Supreme Court all three had one more year added to their sentences.

References[edit]