”My client is not going to plead guilty to committing an offence. He’s a very religious person who has explained how Islam views a number of problems that were posed to him,” Krekar’s lawyer, Brynjar Meling, told news agency NTB shortly before the trial started.
Ther 55-year-old Krekar, a firebrand jihadist whose real name is Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad, stands accused of threatening Convervative Party (Høyre) leader Erna Solberg during a meeting in Oslo with the international press on June 10th 2010. He risks up to 15 years behind bars if found guilty, according to Norwegian media reports.
Norway’s Supreme Court ruled in 2007 to expel Krekar from the country in the interests of national security in a decision signed By Solberg. But with Iraq unable to guarantee that Krekar would not be sentenced to death, Norway put the expulsion order on hold.
According to the charge sheet, Krekar said: ”Erna Solberg says, ’throw Mullah Krekar to his death’. She will pay the price for that with her own life. Who it will be that takes her life, I don’t know. Al-Qaeda, Ansar al-Islam, my relatives, my children, I don’t know.”
Before the Oslo court on Wednesday, wearing traditional Kurdish attire, Krekar hinted he would gladly repeat those declarations.
His lawyer Brynjar Meling stressed however that his client's words merely referred to Islamic principles and were protected under freedom of expression laws.
Krekar also stands accused of criminal incitement after he called for attacks on US soldiers in Iraq during an interview with US commercial broadcaster NBC.
The United Nations put Krekar on its list of known terrorists in December 2006. The United States also considers him a terrorist.
Krekar, the co-founder of Islamist militant group Ansar al-Islam, moved to Norway as a refugee from northern Iraq in 1991.