A Norwegian court sentenced three men on Monday to jail for arranging to carry out a terror plot against a Danish newspaper that printed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
The men, Chinese-born Uighur Mikael Davud and Iraqi Kurd Shawan Sadek Saeed Bujak, were the first to be convicted under Norway's anti-terror laws. They were both sentenced to 3.5 years in prison.
A third man, Uzbek-born David Jakobsen, was cleared of terror charges but was charged to three months in prison for aiding the other men in acquiring explosives. Jakobsen claims he did not know what the men were planning on using the explosives for.
The men were arrested in 2010 after they were discovered plotting an attack on the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten following a scandal in which the paper published a series of cartoons featuring the Muslim prophet Muhammad.
The men were conspiring to blow up the buildings of the Danish newspaper and were also plotting to kill the man who drew the images, cartoonist Kurt Westergaard. Islamic law generally bans any depiction of Muhammad and many Muslims and non-Muslims expressed outrage over the cartoon after it was published.
Officials discovered the plot as they were probing into other possible terror attacks in the United States and United Kingdom.
The series of 12 cartoons was printed by the Danish newspaper in 2006 and stirred controversy around the word, which led to protests and storming of Danish embassies. The cartoons depicted the Muslim prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban and critics called the work racist, blasphemous, and ignorant. Supporters argued the outrage targeted free speech and was an issue of self-censorship.
The Norwegian court connected the men involved in the plot to international terrorist group al-Qaida. The men denied the allegations despite police discovering al-Qaida training manuals on Davud's MP3 player.
The court said that they captured the men early on in the plot and linked the planned attack to the same al-Qaida planners that planned thwarted attacks on New York City's subway system and a British shopping mall in 2009.
The case was the relatively peaceful country's most high-profile terror case until right-winged extremist Anders Behring Breivik set off a bomb in Oslo and went on a shooting rampage on an island off of Norway last July killing dozens and shocking the world.