Lars Vilks, a Swedish artist who survived two assassination attempts in recent years after drawing a caricature of the prophet Mohammed, died in a mysterious car accident in Markaryd, Sweden’s Kronoberg province, last weekend.
The information is from the newspaper “Daily Mail”. The 75-year-old cartoonist died when the police car he was in veered on the wrong side of the road, and ended up colliding head-on with a truck. The two vehicles caught fire.
The occupants of the police car died, while the 45-year-old truck driver was taken to hospital with serious injuries, according to the Swedish agency “Expressen”. The circumstances of the accident are still being investigated by the country’s prosecutor.
Also according to the Swedish agency, the head of the National Police, Anders Thornberg, lamented what happened: ‘It was with great consternation and great sadness that I received the news that our two colleagues and our security guard died this afternoon. My thoughts go to their relatives, family, friends and co-workers,” he said, who guaranteed that he was in contact with the local police to “make sure they receive the support they need” to clarify the fact.
The special prosecutor’s chief of staff, Anders Jakobsson, said: ‘With the information I have now, this indicates that it was an accident, but the investigation is at a very early stage.’ Rickard Lundqvist said: ‘I cannot say at the moment whether there is any suspicion of crime.’
Vilks has received several death threats since 2007, when he published a cartoon of Muhammad on the body of a dog. The first real attack took place in 2011, when Colleen LaRose confessed to having conspired to kill the cartoonist. She was convicted in court in 2014.
The second attempt came in 2015, when Omar El-Hussein fired shots at the front of the Krudttonden café, where the cartoonist was taking part in a debate on freedom of expression.