Blogger cleared of cop killer threats

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Photo: Magnus Aamo Holte/Scanpix
15:57 CEST+02:00
A Norwegian court has set free an extremist blogger arrested earlier this month on charges of threatening to kill police officers.

Gulating court of appeal ruled on Thursday that comments made by Eivind Berge on his blog did not qualify as incitement to murder members of the police force, broadcaster NRK reports.

Last week, Bergen district court ruled that the 34-year-old Berge should be held in custody for four weeks pending a full investigation.

In a raid on his home, police seized computer equipment containing 2.7 million images, 45,000 emails and more than 600,000 documents.

Appealing the ruling, Berge said he viewed the raid as “an attack on freedom of speech.”

“Nobody has ever been convicted for blogging,” he added.

Berge was cleared on Thursday after the appeals court ruled that the comments on his blog had not been issued in public and as such were not punishable by law.

The police immediately appealed the decision to the Supreme Court and requested that the court suspend Berge's release. Late on Thursday afternoon, however, the court decided to set the blogger free pending a decision by the country's top court on whether to take the case.

"The main basis for our appeal is the appeals courts' interpretation of what constitutes a public place," police inspector Liv Karlsen told news agency NTB.

Berge, who has previously voiced sympathy for confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik, was charged after police said he agitated for the murder of police officers and may even have considered carrying out such an attack himself.

Berge has previously written on his blog: “Police murder is 100 percent in harmony with everything I stand for and is not in any way something I find regretful.”

In another post, he spoke of plans to stab a police officer to death and use the ensuing court case to “appear as a good example to men”.

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Berge lives in Bergen and also uses the pseudonym Arpagus. He describes himself as an anti-feminist and libertarian.

“I was positively surprised after July 22nd,” he told local newspaper Bergens Tidende last year, referring to the date of Breivik’s dual terrorist attacks that left 77 people dead.

“Finally something happened for the men’s cause.”

In another blog post, he said "it is about time men in feminist countries such as Norway stop thinking of rape as wrong."

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