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Norwegian Tjostolv Moland dies in Congo jail

A Norwegian sentenced to death in 2010 for murder and spying in the Democratic Republic of Congo has died in prison, Norway's foreign minister announced on Sunday.

Norwegian Tjostolv Moland dies in Congo jail
Tjostolv Moland during visit from mother Mathilde Moland in 2010 - Geir Egeland Ingar / Scanpix
 
"We have been informed today that Tjostolv Moland is dead. He was found in his prison cell in Kinshasa this morning," Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide told reporters.
 
 When asked about the cause of death, he replied only that Norway had "no comment at this time."
 
Moland and his friend Joshua French, who has dual British-Norwegian nationality, were sentenced to death for murder and spying in the vast central African country in 2010.
 
Shortly after their conviction Moland, 32, and French, 31, wrote to Congolese President Joseph Kabila to ask for a pardon or for their death sentence to be commuted to life imprisonment that could eventually be served in Norway.
 
Norwegian authorities have since been trying to negotiate a transfer to the Scandinavian country.
 
Former soldiers French and Moland, who claimed they were in the country to set up their own security company, were first sentenced to death in 2009, convicted of having killed the driver of the car they had rented in May that year. They insisted the driver was killed by bandits. 
 
The verdict was annulled for irregularities by the high military court in 2010, but a new panel of judges convicted them in a retrial in June that year of spying, criminal association, murder and attempted murder.
 
A prison official claimed in August 2011 that the pair — who met in the Norwegian army — had tried to escape from prison, but their lawyer denied this.
 
DR Congo has not carried out a death sentence since Kabila came to power in 2001, but has commuted such penalties to life imprisonment.
 
Barth Eide said a Norwegian diplomat has been sent to the Kinshasa prison following the news of Moland's death.
 

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JAIL

Dutch cons fear losing cushy cells to Norway

Dutch prisoners have gone to court to block a ground-breaking plan to rent out spaces in their jail for criminals from Norway, where the prison service faces a serious capacity shortage.

Dutch cons fear losing cushy cells to Norway
Norgerhaven Veenhuizen prison in The Netherlands. Photo: Dutch Ministry of Justice
The 18 long-term prisoners from Norgerhaven Veenhuizen prison outside Groningen aim to prevent Dutch prison authorities from shifting them to another prison to make room for the Norwegian inmates. 
 
“The long-termers don’t want to go to another prison. They think they have it good here,” Jaap Oosterveer, spokesman for the Dutch Ministry of Justice, told VG newspaper. “This is not up to them, it’s up to the Justice Department. But they believe they are entitled to it and have gone to court.” 
 
Norway is planning to rent 242 prison places at Norgerhaven from the Dutch Ministry of Justice in a radical cross-border solution to the country’s capacity shortage. 
 
Vidar Brein-Karlsen (FRP), Undersecretary of Ministry of Justice  told VG that he expected the deal to be signed in the summer. 
 
“We are very satisfied, it will solve our prison queue and problems with remand capacity in Norway,” he said.  
 
At the time The Netherlands gave preliminary approval to the deal in September, no fewer than 1,300 people in Norway had been given jail sentences but as yet had no place in prison.
 
The Netherlands, on the other hand, has a surplus of prison places. 
 
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