A 21 year-old Norwegian has been arrested for inciting terrorism and making threats against the authorities after admitting publishing a video on YouTube that called for the deaths of the country’s crown prince, prime minister and foreign minister.
The man, who has converted from Catholicism to Islam, was tracked down in Skien on Wednesday 18th January, just a day after publishing the film.
As well as showing photographs of Crown Prince Haakon, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre with text urging Allah to “destroy them” with painful deaths, the video also promoted a protest in Oslo on Friday. ‘Demonstration: Norwegian troops out of Afghanistan’, however, only attracted a crowd of 40 – far short of the 500 to 700 people the Islamic organisers were expecting.
The film itself received much more attention and media coverage, with Stoltenberg claiming the threat was “different” to other he has received because it could be widely distributed. “The video confirms, unfortunately, what we’ve seen in recent years, that there are more people with extreme views who express them,” Stoltenberg said.
A local court in Telemark County, where the man was born, has agreed to let prosecutors keep the defendant in custody without media or personal communication for two more weeks. The 21 year-old, however, claims the posting was not meant as a threat and that he was only expressing his opposition to Norway’s activities in Afghanistan.
Speaking to NRK, defence solicitor John Christian Elden called his client’s situation “absurd”. “He maintains he was simply exercising his democratic right to freedom of expression,” Elden said.