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Wed 27 Apr 2011 10:31 AM

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Controversial Danish cartoonist sued in Jordanian court

Kurt Westergaard sued for blasphemy after cartoon of Prophet Muhammad sparked riots across Arab world

Controversial Danish cartoonist sued in Jordanian court
Kurt Westergaards work sparked riots across the Middle East in 2006

The Danish cartoonist whose depiction of the Prophet
Muhammad (PBUH) sparked violent riots across the Middle East in 2006 has been
sued in an Amman court for blasphemy.

Kurt Westergaard, whose cartoon appeared in the
Jyllands-Posten newspaper and up to 17 other publications, is being sued in
absentia by a court in Amman by a group consisting of around 30 Jordanian
journalists and activists from independent newspapers, websites and radio
stations.

"A court in Amman began today the trial in absentia of
those who insulted the Prophet, including Westergaard and Danish newspapers
which published his offensive cartoon," Tareq Hawamdeh, lawyer for the
group told newswire AFP on Tuesday.

"Judge Nathir Shehadeh adjourned the trial until May 8
to hear the witnesses.”

Westergaard, who is currently under 24-hour armed guard by
the Danish Security and Intelligence Service following an attack at his home
last year, was subpoenaed on April 14. However, it is unlikely he will attend
the hearing.

The 75-year-old cartoonist told AFP he had “not heard about
this trial and has not been informed."

"In any case, I have no intention of going even if I am
asked to," he said."I do not want to risk becoming familiar with the
Jordanian prisons.”

Westergaard survived an assassination attempt last January
after an axe-wielding extremist broke into his home in Aarhus, Denmark. He was
able to lock himself into a fortified ‘panic room’ in his house and summon
police.

Joe Bloggs 8 years ago

Blasphemy was a crime in the Middle Ages!!

Get over it.

Telcoguy 8 years ago

So... A Danish guy publishing some work on a Danish newspaper, paid by said Danish newspaper. I may be thicker than usual today, but could anyone explain me what is the relevance of a jordanian court to even consider this?
Be careful before answering, because if you consider this legitimate that open the doors both ways.

keenObzerver 8 years ago

A group of frustrated Jordanians decided to do the civilised thing and take their grievance to court instead of protesting violently in the streets and bloodshed..
Do Jordanian courts have jurisdiction? Maybe not. There are discussions by several middle eastern countries to draft laws that enable them to prosecute “anyone” charged with insulting religions or prophets. This is similar to UK courts having jurisdiction to try anyone charged with war crimes regardless of which country they occurred in.
These measures were considered after these countries failed to get UN backing to condemn crimes against religious beliefs.
According to sources in Islamic history, in similar cases where one is accused of blasphemy, the accused is brought before a judge, and given the chance t o apologise and repent.
If the Danish cartoonist makes a public apology, he may have a chance at getting his life back together and living a normal life. Why doesn’t he appoint a lawyer to represent him in absentia