Page last updated at 09:25 GMT, Saturday, 13 March 2010

Ireland frees three cartoonist plot suspects

Lars Vilks
Lars Vilks' has been living under an Islamist death threat

Police in the Irish Republic have released three of seven people detained over an alleged plot to murder a Swedish cartoonist.

They were freed without charge after three-and-a-half days of questioning.

The trio had been held on suspicion of planning to kill Lars Vilks over a cartoon he drew depicting the Prophet Muhammad with the body of a dog.

The drawing was used in a Swedish newspaper in 2007 to illustrate an editorial on freedom of expression.

Two women and one man, who were among those arrested in Waterford and Cork, were released on Friday night.

Their identities and nationalities are not clear.

'Jihad Jane'

Those originally detained included nationals from Algeria, Libya, the Palestinian territories, Croatia and the US. Three men and one woman remain in custody.

Also on Tuesday, an American woman being held in the US was charged in connection with the alleged plot.

Colleen LaRose - who described herself online as "Jihad Jane" - was detained last October in Philadelphia.

Unconfirmed reports say she travelled to Ireland in September and met some of the seven suspects arrested there on Tuesday.

Meanwhile US media reported that a 31-year-old woman from Colorado, Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, was among the seven.

In 2007, a group linked to al-Qaeda in Iraq offered a $100,000 (£66,000)reward for killing Mr Vilks, and a 50% bonus if he was "slaughtered like a lamb" by having his throat cut.

The Vilks cartoon was published about a year-and-a-half after a series of depictions of the Prophet Muhammad in Denmark's Jyllands-Posten paper caused protests by Muslims around the world.

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