Two men arrested over fire at Vilks’ house
Published: 16 May 10 10:05 CET
Updated: 16 May 10 14:17 CET
Two men, aged 19 and 21, have been arrested in connection with an arson attack at the home in southern Sweden of artist Lars Vilks.
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The 21-year-old was arrested late on Saturday at his home in Landskrona, 40 kilometres from the house where Vilks lives. He is being held on suspicion of aggravated attempted arson.
A police spokesman said he was detained after personal items were found near Vilks’ house in the village of Nyhamnsläge, 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 Pärsson told AFP.
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 Pärsson.
The 19-year-old was arrested in Helsingborg on Sunday morning and is suspected of attempted arson. He does not have a previous criminal record.
Vilks was not at his home in Nyhamnsläge at the time of the attack in the early hours of Saturday morning.
An acquaintance of the artist discovered the damage on Saturday morning. Windows had been smashed, there was minor fire damage to the front of the house and plastic bottles filled with petrol were found inside the property.
Vilks told AFP 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 Örebro in central Sweden where the newspaper is based, while Egypt, Iran and Pakistan made formal complaints.
Vilks has had a $100,000 bounty on his head from an Al-Qaeda-linked group since the publication of his drawing of the Muslim prophet Muhammad as a dog in 2007.
In March, an American woman known as “Jihad Jane” was charged by US authorities with conspiring to kill Vilks after seven suspected co-plotters were arrested in Ireland.
On Tuesday, the artist was head-butted in the chest as he gave a talk at a lecture theatre at Uppsala University.
TT/AFP/The Local ([email protected])