Copenhagen blast suspect denies terror charges

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A Chechen-born man arrested after a blast at a Copenhagen hotel last year denied terror charges Monday as his trial opened saying he was not planning an attack.

Lors Dukayev, a 25-year-old former boxer, told the Copenhagen court he came to Denmark last year as a tourist for a two-day trip and had several years ago simply "happened upon" the explosives he had brought with him from Belgium, where he is a resident.

Dukayev, who lost a leg after reportedly being struck by a landmine in Chechnya when he was 12 years old, was arrested last September 10 shortly after mistakenly setting off a small blast in the budget Joergensen hotel in the centre of the Danish capital.

He is facing charges of terrorism and illegal use of explosives and could get up to life in prison if found guilty.

Dukayev, who was the only one injured in the blast, has denied any links to terrorism but did admit to making a bomb for "self defence", according to the prosecutor..

"I put some explosive material in a metal pipe and put a detonator on it," he told the court, according Danish media, insisting though he had not received instructions on how to put together the bomb.

"I have lived in a country with war," he pointed out.

When asked what he had been doing in the lavatory of the Joergensen hotel on the day of the explosion, he explained that he had wanted to re-pack the explosives to make them safer to carry on his trip back to Belgium.

"I felt it was too dangerous to keep the way I had done it. I tried to open the box ... but (it fell down) and exploded," he said.

He vehemently rejected Monday that he had been planning to send the rigged package to the Jyllands-Posten daily, which has been the target of numerous attack plots since it first published 12 controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in 2005.

"I didn't even know that the cartoons existed," he told the court.

And while he admitted he had accessed the Jyllands-Posten website shortly before the blast, he said it was simply because he had seen a paper version of the newspaper and had wanted to check if other language versions were available online so he could check for job listings.

"I had never heard of Jyllands-Posten before. I just entered the name of the newspaper that was on the table," he said.

The former boxer, who refused to answer questions on why he also brought a gun and 40 rounds of ammunition with him to Denmark, meanwhile explained to the court that he had removed the identification number of his prosthetic leg "because according to Islam you are not permitted to have tattoos."

The trial is set to last two weeks with a verdict expected at the end of May.

© 2011 AFP

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