Vilks’ fatal car crash an accident: Sweden
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Vilks’ fatal car crash an accident: Sweden

An exploding tire led the driver of the unmarked police car carrying Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who had lived under police protection since his controversial 2007 sketch of the Prophet Mohammed, to lose control of the vehicle, which crashed head-on into a truck last year. , say the Swedish authorities.

Three people, including the 75-year-old cartoonist, were killed in the crash.

Vilks' fatal car crash an accident: Sweden

Because Vilks received death threats for his drawings, the question arose whether the crash was a terrorist attack rather than an accident.

But the Swedish prosecutor’s office said in a statement it was “a tragic accident” as it announced the closure of the investigation into the October 4 crash after a “comprehensive analysis, including on-site technical investigation and witness examination”.

In summary, a tire on the police vehicle probably exploded, and the driver lost control of the car, which rolled over on the other side of the road and collided head-on with the truck,” said chief prosecutor Per Nichols. Said.

“The extensive investigation now shows that no crime has been committed.”

Parallel to the prosecutor’s investigation, the police had conducted a preliminary investigation into possible murder in the case.

That probe, which was also closed on Wednesday, concluded it was an accident.

Vilks was largely unknown outside of Sweden before his Mohammed drawing.

At home, he was best known for building a driftwood sculpture in a nature reserve in southern Sweden without permission, leading to a lengthy legal battle.

He was fined, but the seaside sculpture – a jumble of wood nailed together chaotically – still attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year.

The artist’s life changed radically after he sketched Mohammed with a dog’s body.

Dogs are considered unclean by conservative Muslims, and Islamic law generally opposes any portrayal of the prophet, even auspicious, for fear it could lead to idolatry.

Al-Qaeda put a bounty on Vilks’ head.

In 2010, two men tried to set fire to his house in southern Sweden; in 2014, a woman from the US pleaded guilty to a plot to kill him.

The following year, a free speech seminar Vilks attended in Copenhagen, Denmark, was attacked by a lone gunman who killed a Danish film director and injured three police officers.

Vilks, widely believed to be the intended target of the 2015 attack, was taken away unharmed by bodyguards.

The gunman killed a Jewish guard outside a synagogue and wounded two more officers before being killed in a shootout with police.