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Irish police release cartoonist murder plot suspect


Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard poses in Aarhus in this September 2006 file photo. REUTERS/Preben Hupfeld/Scanpix
Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard poses in Aarhus in this September 2006 file photo. REUTERS/Preben Hupfeld/Scanpix

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Irish police have released a woman arrested along with six other people last week over an alleged plot to murder a Swedish cartoonist who drew the Prophet Mohammad with the body of a dog, officials said.

The release of the unnamed woman late on Saturday means four individuals, three women and a man, all of whom were detained on Tuesday, have now been freed.

One of the women was identified by a U.S. law enforcement source who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, as Jamie Paulin Ramirez, a 31-year-old mother from Colorado in the United States. Her parents told Reuters she had converted to Islam last year and had been lured to Europe by online extremists.

Irish police said three men remain in custody as part of an investigation into a "conspiracy to murder an individual in another jurisdiction."

An Irish security source confirmed to Reuters last week the alleged plot under investigation in Ireland was to murder Lars Vilks. In 2007 an Iraqi group linked to al Qaeda offered a $100,000 reward for his murder.

Ramirez' arrest made her the second U.S. woman linked to the conspiracy. On Tuesday the U.S. Justice Department said it had charged Colleen LaRose, a suburban Philadelphia woman who used the online pseudonyms "Fatima LaRose" and "JihadJane," with plotting to kill an unnamed Swedish man and using the Internet to enlist co-conspirators.

The Irish police have declined to give details of those arrested, only saying the original suspects were four men and three women ranging in age from their mid 20s to late 40s. Ramirez's parents said her newly-wed Algerian husband was among those arrested.

Ramirez's mother and stepfather said the Algerian man was "JihadJane's" main contact in Ireland.

Vilks, who said he has prepared a secure room in his house with barricades in case of any break-in, told Reuters on Wednesday he had received more death threats through Internet messages since the arrests were made.

In January, a Somali man was indicted on charges of terrorism and attempted murder for breaking into the home of Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard and threatening him with an axe.

A cartoon by Westergaard in 2005 which depicted the Prophet Mohammad with a turban shaped like a bomb sparked outrage across the Muslim world, with at least 50 people killed in riots in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Most Muslims consider any depiction of the founder of Islam as offensive.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Matthew Jones)

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