A Swedish artist who has faced death threats ever since he drew Muhammad, who Muslims claim was a prophet, as a dog in 2007 is dead after what police say appears to be an accident.
Lars Vilks, 75, died Sunday when the civilian police car he was riding in slammed into a truck, Swedish officials said, according to the New York Post.
Police said one of Vilks’ bodyguards was driving the car when it crossed into the opposing lanes of traffic after going through a barrier dividing the lanes.
Swedish artist Lars Vilks killed in suspicious car accident https://t.co/wHRQvaC3dg
— Euro Journal – English News (@eurojournalENG) October 4, 2021
Vilks and his two police bodyguards died at the scene.
The 45-year-old man driving the truck was hospitalized with what police called serious injuries.
Chief prosecutor Kajsa Sundgren said she would investigate to determine if “any police officer may have committed a crime in connection with the accident.”
Carina Persson, the police chief of southern Sweden, said “there is nothing for now that indicates that it was something else but a traffic accident.”
Do you think Vilks’ death was suspicious?
“We are looking into the possibility that there could have been some kind of tire explosion,” senior police officer Stefan Sinteus said. The car’s tires were supposed to be immune to punctures.
The goal of the investigation is to “completely exclude an external act targeting the car in which Lars Vilks found himself,” Sinteus said.
“There is nothing to indicate that, but we want to be certain so we can rule it out.”
Vilks’ drawing of Muhammad with the body of a dog led al Qaeda to issue a bounty on Vilks’s head — something many tried to claim.
Vilks received police protection in 2010 after an attempt to burn down his house.
In 2014, a woman who called herself “Jihad Jane” was sentenced to prison for plotting to kill Vilks.
A 2015 attempt to kill Vilks in Copenhagen, Denmark, during a free-speech seminar led to one person being killed and three police officers being wounded.
Police said there were no new threats before the crash of which they were aware.