Death of Lars Vilk, cartoonist of the prophet Mohammed

Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, the target of an attack in Copenhagen in 2015 and who was living under protection after drawing the Prophet Mohammed with a dog’s body in 2007, was killed in a road accident on Sunday October 3 in Sweden with the two police officers responsible for protecting him.

The accident occurred on the E4 motorway near the town of Markaryd, in the south of the country, when the car hit an oncoming truck. The two vehicles then caught fire “As a result of the collision”.

→ READ. Teachers are free to show, or not, the cartoons of “Charlie Hebdo”

Swedish police have ruled out a malicious act. “It is investigated like any traffic accident. As two police officers are involved, an investigation was also entrusted to a particular section of the prosecution “, said a spokesperson for the local police. Asked about possible elements suggesting a track other than accidental, the latter replied that no. “The investigation would be oriented differently if this had been the case”, he said.

A life under police protection

According to the daily Expressen, the unmarked police car, which was traveling very fast, crossed a crash barrier for an as yet undetermined reason before hitting the truck. The truck driver was hospitalized, police said.

→ DEBATE. Should we show the Mohammed cartoons to the students?

“That the person we were protecting and two colleagues died in this tragedy is inconceivable and terribly sad”, said Carina Persson, regional police chief.

Lars Vilks rose to worldwide notoriety in 2007 after participating in a dog-themed exhibition presenting the Prophet of Islam, Mohammed, as a “roundabout dog” – a nod to the controversy of the publication of the cartoons in Denmark in 2005, but also the tendency to place decorative dogs in the middle of roundabouts in Sweden.

Finally refused by the gallery for security reasons, the work is published in a local Swedish newspaper, then taken up in solidarity by several dailies in the kingdom. The affair had given rise to strong reactions in several Muslim countries. Since then, Lars Vilks has lived under protection almost uninterruptedly, due to numerous threats from terrorists.

Victim of an attack in 2015

On February 14, 2015, a young Danish man of Palestinian origin opened fire when he tried to break into a debate on freedom of expression in Copenhagen, organized after the deadly attack on Charlie hebdo in Paris.

→ ARCHIVE. In Copenhagen, shooting during Islamist debate kills one

Lars Vilks, who was headlining the meeting with the French ambassador, escaped unscathed, but a 55-year-old Danish director was killed by the assailant, who later that evening shot dead a keeper of the synagogue in Copenhagen. He had been killed the next morning during a face-to-face meeting with Danish police.

“I try to keep my cool. The good side of things is that the people who are after me are probably poorly equipped, they are amateurs ”, he told AFP eleven years ago. “I am not a fanatic racist, I have no political position. I am an artist who seeks the limits, who wants to find what we can do or not and where there can be a debate ”, he pleaded. “I think it’s very important, if we want to talk about freedom of expression and Islam and Muslims, to have a real position, to have something sufficiently provocative and transgressive to start a debate. “


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