Norwegians sentenced to death after Congo murder

DR-CongoTwo Norwegians have been sentenced to death in the Democratic Republic of Congo after being found guilty of espionage and murder. Soldiers Joshua French and Tjostolv Moland were convicted of killing their driver and trying to murder a witness to the crime last year.

The two men were also found guilty of spying for Norway by the court in Kinsangani in the northeast of the country. The Norwegian government has denied that the soldiers were acting as spies. The two men have just five days to file an appeal against the sentences.

The British government has sworn to fight the conviction against Mr French, who has both Norwegian and British citizenship. Norway will also be making a case to the Congolese government to have both men retried at home.

Norway, along with French and Moland, must also pay a fine of USD 65 million, according to the court. USD 3 million would go to the driver’s widow and USD 1.5 million would be given to his parents.

Kjetil Elsebutangen, a spokesman for Norway’s Foreign Ministry, said the country was making its opposition to the death penalty clear to the Congolese authorities. “Norway is against the death penalty in principle and in all its forms,” Mr. Elsebutangen said in a report by the New York Times.

“It’s time for us now to reiterate our position and also remind the Congolese authorities of their responsibility for the health and security of the two Norwegian citizens that are their prisoners,” he added.