Wednesday 17 January 2018

Suspects quizzed in cartoonist murder plot to learn fate

Ralph Riegel, Conor Kane and Tom Brady

A DECISION will be made this afternoon on the fate of three men who have been questioned for the past week about the alleged plot to murder Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks.

Garda officers are to consult with the Director of Public Prosecution's office to determine whether any of the three should face criminal charges.

Officers disclosed last night that they were very pleased with the progress made in their investigation.

Gardai are focusing their inquiries on a suspect who has confirmed online links with Colleen LaRose, who allegedly calls herself 'Jihad Jane'. She has been accused of being the organiser of the murder plot in a criminal indictment before a court in Philadelphia.

It was learnt last night that gardai had established that a second suspect, a Libyan, gave a false identity to detectives after he was arrested. The third suspect is a Croatian.

The four other suspects, three women and a man, were all released without charge over the weekend.

Police forces and intelligence agencies in 10 countries are involved in the investigation and gardai are working in close contact with the FBI.

Two of those detained are converts to Islam.

The three detained men were brought to a special sitting of Waterford District Court on Saturday night, where senior gardai applied to have their detention periods extended.

Two of the men concealed their faces outside the courthouse gates but one of the men waved and pointed his index finger to the air as he entered the building and also before leaving.


Solicitor for the detainees Brian Chesser confirmed to the media that his clients' detention times were extended for a further 48 hours.

Experts from the computer section in the Garda Fraud Bureau are working round-the-clock to analyse documents, computers and mobile phones seized as part of the co-ordinated raids last Tuesday in Cork and Waterford.

The elite Swedish special police unit -- SAPO -- is being briefed daily by gardai on the probe.

SAPO has responsibility for protecting Lars Vilks, the cartoonist who drew a picture of the prophet Mohammad with the body of a dog.

Meanwhile, members of the Islamic community have rallied to offer support for those released by gardai amid concerns that they will now be subjected to trial by media.

Irish Independent

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