World Bulletin / News Desk

A Norwegian court sentenced an Iraqi-born cleric on Friday to 18 months in jail for praising the killing of cartoonists at the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which had lampooned Islam and other religions report RadioFreeEurope.

Iraqi-born Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad, also known as Mullah Krekar, in February said a Kurdish man living in Norway deserved to die after he posted images of himself burning the Koran.

Krekar had also said in an interview with broadcaster NRK that he would "send a gift" to whoever killed the man.

"There is a real possibility that someone would do what [Krekar] urged," the court ruled. "The court does not consider the...statements to be protected by freedom of speech."

Krekar was released from prison shortly before the intervew for making death threats in 2010 against four people, including Erna Solberg, who later became Norway's prime minister.

Krekar, 59, has two weeks to appeal.

Krekar has been a controversial figure since he was granted asylum in Norway in 1991. 

Norway and the United States have accused him of financing a defunct Iraqi insurgent group called Ansar al-Islam, which reportedly merged with the ISIL last year