Two men charged over Copenhagen attacks

Conpahagen-16-2-15.-pixDanish police have accused two men of aiding the gunman who killed two people in the weekend attacks in Copenhagen.

The suspected gunman, named by Danish media as Omar El-Hussein, 22, was shot dead by police after he attacked a free speech debate and a synagogue.

Denmark’s PM said he was not a member of a terror cell, according to what was known so far.

The shootings left a film director and a Jewish man dead and five police personnel injured.

The two men being held are charged with providing and disposing of the weapon used in the shootings, as well as with helping the gunman to hide.

Michael Juul Eriksen, a defence lawyer for one of the men, said they denied the charges.

The suspects, who have not been named, appeared in a closed custody hearing yesterday.

The national flag flew at half-mast on official buildings across the capital.

Floral tributes have been placed by mourners at the site of the two attacks.

Some also put flowers at the place where police shot the suspect dead. One told Danish TV2: “I did it because I am Muslim and because I knew him.”

The attacker was a Danish-born man aged 22, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt told a news conference.

“He was known by the police for several criminal acts, including severe violence, and he was also known to be linked to a criminal gang in Copenhagen.

“But I want to also make it very clear that we have no indication at this stage that he was part of a cell.”

Omar El-Hussein was released from prison two weeks before the attacks after reportedly serving a two-year sentence for grievous bodily harm.

Michael Gjorup, head of the country’s prison and probation service, told Danish media that authorities were concerned about changes in El-Hussein’s behaviour in prison, and passed on information to Danish intelligence before the attack.

The head of Danish intelligence, Jens Madsen, acknowledged that El-Hussein had been “on the radar” of his services.

Mr Madsen said investigators were working on the theory that he could have been inspired by the shootings in Paris last month.

The were attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine, a kosher supermarket and a policewoman which claimed 17 lives.

Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard rejected suggestions that El-Hussein may have visited the Middle East but, said he may have been radicalised while in prison.

“We are not talking about a foreign fighter who has been abroad fighting in Syria or Iraq,” Mr Lidegaard said.

In the first of the two shootings on Saturday, at a free-speech debate in the east of the city, film director Finn Norgaard, 55, was killed.

In an audio recording of the shooting, the gunman can be heard interrupting the debate and firing dozens of shots.

-BBC

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