Denmark: Police investigate death threats to young poet

23 October 2013

The 18-year-old poet Yahya Hassan received 27 threats on Facebook after a tv-interview on the Danish tv-channel DR2 where he openly criticized his parents for the way they brought him up.


Yahya Hassan reported the threats to police, who have made a legal assessment of all 27 threats and reportedly are further investigating six of them, which threatened Yahya Hassan directly on his life.

The death threats may have severe consequences for the senders, punishable by up to two years in prison according to Danish law.

“In the interest of freedom of expression, we need to take a close look at these things, and we take them very seriously,” Police Commissioner Bent Sørensen Baltzer was quoted as saying.

Over 6,000 comments in Facebook
The reactions in social media had never been as numerous throughout the history of the news programme ‘Deadline’ in which Yahya Hassan was interviewed: 2,400 comments within the first day, which has since increased to more than 6,000 comments.

“I can not recall that Deadline has ever experienced such a heated debate in the wake of a feature,” said head of the programme, Heidi Robdrup.

Some of the threats to Yahya Hassan were:
“Shoot yourself before someone else does.”
“I wish I had a Bazuka, he would habe been dealt with a long time ago!”
“He must fucking die! It is as simple as that!”

Yahya Hassan is studying at the writer’s school Forfatterskolen, and publishes a eponymous collection of poems this month. He first came into limelight of Danish media after he had spoken out sharply about his parents – especially his father – in the newspaper Politiken. His parents are Palestinian refugees living in Denmark.

DR, Danish Broadcasting Corporation – 18 October 2013:
Outspoken poet receives death threats
Eighteen-year-old poet Yahya Hassan’s comments on DR2 news programme Deadline have provoked a vitriolic backlash in some parts of Denmark.

Copenhagen Post – 10 October 2013:
Young poet threatened after TV appearance
18-year-old Yahya Hassan has received death threats after he criticised the Muslim community in the media this week. By Andreas Jakobsen

Articles and video interview in Danish language:

DR, Danish Broadcasting Corporation – 22 October 2013:
PET involveret i digters sikkerhed
Både PET og flere politikredse er gået ind i sagen om trusler mod digteren Yahya Hassan. Politiets Efterretningstjeneste, PET, er nu gået ind i sagen om den 18-årige digter Yahya Hassans sikkerhed.

DR, Danish Broadcasting Corporation – 17 October 2013:
Seks dødstrusler mod Yahya Hassan efterforskes
Den unge digter Yahya Hassan har modtaget 27 trusler fra personer på Facebook. Af Thomas Klose Jensen

DR, Danish Broadcasting Corporation – 8 October 2013:
Digter får dødstrusler efter Deadline-optræden
Yahya Hassan er blevet truet på livet, efter at han har kritiseret flere generationer med anden etnisk baggrund end dansk. Af Johan Blem Larsen

Politiken – 8 October 2013:
Nydansk digter modtager dødstrusler efter tv-optræden
Aldrig har debatten efter en indslag været så hidsig, siger Deadline-chef. Af Marie Sæhl

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