Suspect arrested over Islamist threat video

A 21-year-old man will face a remand hearing on Friday following his arrest on suspicion of having posted a hateful video to the internet calling on Allah to destroy members of the Norwegian government and royal family.

The suspect will appear in front of Skien district court in south-eastern Norway at 1pm on Friday.

The man, a Norwegian citizen with a Central American family background, was arrested at his home in the town at 11pm on Wednesday by officers from the Telemark police service and the domestic police intelligence agency, PTS.

He faces preliminary charges of threatening state officials and incitement to terrorism.

The suspect’s lawyer, John Christian Elden, said his client admitted to being behind the video but did not believe it contained any threats.

“He was not previously known to police, and he doesn't think he has done anything illegal, even though he admits that he’s the one who posted the video,” said Elden.

A link to the video was posted in the early hours of Tuesday morning in a Facebook group with 1,600 members called ‘Demonstrasjon: Norske soldater ut av Afghanistan’ [Demonstration: Norwegian soldiers out of Afghanistan]. The group’s aim is to gather protesters for a rally outside the Oslo parliament on Friday.

The number of group members has dropped to below 1,300 since the video appeared there.

In the video, images of Crown Prince Haakon, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre are accompanied by a song in Arabic that contains the words: “Oh Allah, destroy them, and let it be painful”.

The clip, which is just over four minutes long, also features pictures of Norwegian soldiers and injured children. It ends with the sound of an explosion and a picture of a Norwegian vehicle in flames.

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Kongsberg attacker killed victims with ‘sharp object’

Norwegian police said Monday that the five victims of last week's attack were killed by a "sharp object" used by the suspect, not a bow and arrows.

The Kongsberg attacker is said to have killed five people with sharp objects. Pictured is police tape from a separate incident.
The Kongsberg attacker is said to have killed five people with sharp objects. Pictured is police tape from a separate incident. Photo by Søren Storm Hansen on Flickr.

“At some point he discarded or lost his bow and arrows,” police inspector Per Thomas Omholt told reporters.

He said that during the attack on Wednesday the suspect killed “five people with a sharp object both in private addresses and in public spaces”.

Police, who had previously said that the suspect Espen Andersen Brathen was armed with a bow and arrows and two other weapons, did not specify the nature of the sharp weapons, adding that they were still interviewing witnesses.

“Everything points to the victims being selected at random,” Omholt said.

According to the police, more than 10 people were also shot at with arrows at the start of the attack, but none were killed with this weapon.

READ MORE: Norway police query Kongsberg attacker’s Muslim faith

During police questioning, Brathen has confessed to the killings and to wounding three others.

The 37-year-old Danish citizen has announced publicly that he is a convert to Islam and initially police reported that there had been fears of radicalisation.

He is however being kept in a medical facility pending a psychiatric evaluation, which is necessary to determine whether Brathen can be held legally responsible for his actions.

“As far as motive is concerned, illness remains the main hypothesis. And as far as conversion to Islam is concerned, this hypothesis is weakened,” Omholt added.

On Saturday, police announced the identities of the five victims, four women and one man: Andrea Meyer, 52, Hanne Merethe Englund, 56, Liv Berit Borge, 75, Gunnar Erling Sauve, 75 and Gun Marith Madsen, 78.