Danish Jew — Whose Daughter’s Bat Mitzvah Was Bloodied by Murder of Guard During Copenhagen Synagogue Attack — Deeply ‘Disappointed’ in Acquittal of Terrorist’s Accomplices
The Danish-Jewish woman whose daughter’s bat mitzvah was tragically cut short last year when a terrorist opened fire at the community center where the celebration was taking place told The Algemeiner on Tuesday about her sadness in light of the upshot of a long terrorism trial whose outcome was not what she had anticipated.
Mette Bentow was referring to the acquittal of four defendants on trial for aiding and abetting the perpetrator of the attack, in which volunteer security guard Dan Uzan — whom she knew well — was killed.
“It is not an easy day,” Bentow told The Algemeiner. “Nothing will bring back Dan to his wonderful family or to our community. Nothing will make the experience go away. But I am left with a sense of disappointment that the authorities did not manage to obtain the guilty verdict I had hoped for.”
The trial in question began in March, more than a year after L.E. (aged 20), I.A. (18), B.H. (24) and M.R. (31) were charged with assisting Omar El-Hussein in the deadly assault on the Jewish center/synagogue in Copenhagen, after he first committed an attack on the Krudttønden cultural center in Østerbro — at an event called “Art, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression” — killing one civilian and wounding three police officers.
According to the indictment, the four men met with El-Hussein at 4:30 pm on the day of the two attacks — February 14, 2015 — and supplied him with a hoodie and a shoulder bag. The prosecution also contended that they provided the terrorist with access to a computer; gave him ammunition; and encouraged him to commit the second attack.
In addition, two of the defendants were accused of disposing of the M-95 rifle El-Hussein used in the first attack.
As was reported by the Danish news site CPH Online, the case rested on whether the four men knew, or should have known, that El-Hussein was not finished committing acts of terrorism when they met with him after the first — and before the second — attack. Though all admitted to knowing he was the perpetrator and that they had met with him between the two attacks, the three judges and six jurors at the trial reached the conclusion that there was not enough evidence to prove that they were aware of El-Hussein’s plan to hit the synagogue.
The four men were convicted, however, of smaller offenses relating to their time in prison awaiting trial — the illegal possession of mobile phones and a count of violence against a jailer — and two of them for disposing of El-Hussein’s weapon after the first attack.
In an interview with The Algemeiner in the immediate aftermath of the brutal attack that robbed her friend of his life and cast a pall on the memory of her daughter’s bat mitzvah, Bentow said she was unsure about whether there was a future for Jews in her native Denmark.
On Tuesday, on the heels of what she considered an unwelcome verdict for the men who helped the terrorist commit murder, Bentow said, “Let us all be inspired by the words of Dan’s bereaved father — that hate is conquered with love.”