Suspect arrested after house of Swedish cartoonist attacked: Police | world | Hindustan Times
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Suspect arrested after house of Swedish cartoonist attacked: Police

Police arrested a suspect in an arson attack on the house of a Swedish cartoonist, who sparked controversy by drawing the Prophet Mohammed with the body of a dog, they said Sunday.

world Updated: May 16, 2010 17:44 IST

Police arrested a suspect in an arson attack on the house of a Swedish cartoonist, who sparked controversy by drawing the Prophet Mohammed with the body of a dog, they said Sunday.

The 21-year-old Swedish national of Kosovar origin, from the southern city of Landskrona, was arrested late Saturday at his home, 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the house where cartoonist Lars Vilks lives.

A police spokesman said he was detained after personal items were found near Vilks' house in the village of Nyhamnslaege, which was slightly damaged in the attack overnight Friday.

"He is of Swedish nationality but originally from Kosovo ... He was unknown to the police so far," Scania district police spokesman Calle Paersson said.

The suspect whose name was not made public "is still being detained and expected to see a judge to decide whether or not he will be charged, possibly tomorrow" (Monday), said Paersson.

It was not immediately known whether the suspect had any accomplices. "We'll see what he says," he added.

Police found glass bottles containing petrol (gasoline) inside Vilks' house which was empty at the time of the attack, which came days after Vilks was attacked while giving a lecture at Uppsala university.

Vilks has said he did not want to over-react to the attack but would take some precautions.

"I'll have to have a hide away for some time, which I think is reasonable... I can probably go in the house during daytime, but I'll have to sleep somewhere else.

"We have to see if it's possible to install an alarm or something.... I shouldn't be paranoid. This could be a one-time occasion," he added.

In 2007, Swedish regional daily Nerikes Allehanda published Vilks' satirical cartoon to illustrate an editorial on the importance of freedom of expression.

The cartoon prompted protests by Muslims in the town of Oerebro, west of Stockholm, where the newspaper is based, while Egypt, Iran and Pakistan made formal complaints.

An Al-Qaeda front organisation then offered 100,000 dollars to anyone who murdered Vilks -- with an extra 50,000 if his throat was slit -- and 50,000 dollars for the death of Nerikes Allehanda editor-in-chief Ulf Johansson.

Four men and three women, all Muslims originally from Morocco and Yemen, were arrested in southern Ireland in March over an alleged plot to assassinate him.