Surge in Norwegian sex assaults

Four violent sexual assaults on Norwegian women southeast of Oslo and another this weekend in the capital itself have many in southern Norway wondering what’s next.

Although police made an arrest early on Sunday, the attacks follow a record number of sexual assaults this summer for which little justice was meted out.

One of the latest attacks in Østfold County near the Swedish border was “so violent the woman was covered in lacerations,” according to Fredriksstad Blad. Three of the sexual assaults occurred in Fredrikstad, a fortress town in southeast Norway.

A wave of violent sexual assaults spread fear in Oslo and other parts of Norway this summer. The sexual violence has experts nervous about teens’ easy access to internet pornography and access by violent offenders. A recent report carried out for the European Union noted that Norwegian children see more porn than any of their European counterparts.

In the latest assault in Oslo in the early hours of Saturday, a woman reportedly ran out to a police patrol car saying she had been sexually assaulted. She had shared a taxi with a man who was heading in the same direction.

When they got out, she alleged the man forced her into a cellar. The accused, who also came out to the police car, said she had consented.

Few such cases are cleared up, and Summer 2011’s wave of over a dozen police-reported sexual assaults in the capital produced no convictions. Such assaults are up 15 percent over last year, with police examining 39 cases in Oslo alone, naming assailants in just five cases.

“We’re not looking for 39 rapists,” said Hanne Kristin Rohde, Oslo Police sexual crime boss.

“If we look at our experience from earlier years, there’s reason to believe there are many serial rapists.”

Nevertheless, a report by NRK in July said emergency rooms had taken in more than one sexual assault victim per day in 2011, in contrast to the 39 attacks reported to police.

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Two more arrested for suspected involvement in Oslo Pride shooting

Norwegian police said Monday they had arrested two alleged accomplices of the suspect in a June shooting that killed two people in Oslo on the sidelines of Pride celebrations.

Two more arrested for suspected involvement in Oslo Pride shooting

The two suspects were arrested on Sunday in Oslo suspected of “complicity in a terrorist act”, the Oslo police said in a statement.

One is a Somali man in his forties, the other a Norwegian in his thirties — both of them known to police. Their identities were not disclosed.

In the early hours of June 25, a man opened fire near a gay bar in central Oslo during celebrations linked to the city’s Pride festival.

The shooting killed two men, aged 54 and 60, and wounded 21 others. Immediately after the shooting, police arrested Zaniar Matapour, a
43-year-old Norwegian of Iranian origin, on suspicion of carrying out the attack.

The new arrests bring the number of people implicated in the attack to four, as Norwegian police announced last week they were seeking another suspect linked to the shooting.

On Friday, Oslo police announced that they had issued an international arrest warrant for Arfan Qadeer Bhatti, a 45-year-old Islamist with a prior conviction, who is also suspected of “complicity in a terrorist act”.

“The police still believes Bhatti is in Pakistan,” a country with which Norway has no extradition agreement, police said Monday.

“To ensure the best possible cooperation with the Pakistani authorities, we had Oslo police officers in Pakistan a short time ago,” it added.

According to police, they have not yet had direct contact with Arfan Bhatti but have spoken to his Norwegian lawyer, Svein Holden, and say they expect the legal proceedings in Pakistan to take time.