Sam Mansour, also known as ‘The Bookseller from Brønshøj’ and ‘al-Qaeda’s PR man in Denmark’, made history this week when he became the first ever Dane to have his citizenship revoked for criminality. The Eastern High Court sentenced him to four years in jail followed by permanent expulsion.
The Local reports the 55-year-old was found guilty of posting “online threats, screeds, photos, links and messages that praise Osama bin Laden and call on his readers to join al-Qaeda’s al-Nusra Front” and uploading execution videos of soldiers in Syria and Iraq.
The de facto ‘PR Man’ for al-Qaeda was also convicted on charges related to the editing and publishing of books considered to be terrorist propaganda written by Abu Qatada, a Jordanian cleric who was deported from Britain for trial at home. Mansour had been acquitted of those charges in the lower Frederiksberg City Court in December. That same lower court had rejected the prosecution’s call to strip him of his Danish citizenship when it found him guilty of the other charges.
Reuters reported that during the December court case Mansour’s lawyer argued his Facebook messages such as “We are terrorists, and we are proud” and “Jihad is a duty” were a matter of freedom of speech, just as Danish cartoonists who drew the Prophet Mohammad were exercising their right to free speech.
Mansour posted photo-shopped pictures of the severed head of one of the cartoonists who drew Mohammad in a toilet, surrounded by flames and blood. He claimed “I just used the civil rights that Danish society has given me.”
Born in Morocco, Mansour became a Danish citizen in 1988 four years after he moved to Denmark. He retained his Moroccan citizenship which is why Denmark is able to withdraw his Danish passport. TV2 reports Morocco wants him extradited there, though he has claimed he risks torture or even execution if he returns. The court decided that was a matter for asylum authorities not the justice system.
Reuters reports Mansour’s lawyer, Thorkild Hoyer, will seek leave to appeal to the Danish Supreme Court to prevent deportation, although an Appeals Permission Board would need to decide that there were grounds for such a case.
Mansour’s first claim to making legal history came in 2007 when he was sentenced to three and a half years in prison on becoming the first Dane ever to be convicted of inciting terrorism.