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Norway sentences ‘homemade bomb’ teenager to nine months in prison

A 17-year-old Russian citizen who was arrested carrying a homemade bomb-like device in Oslo earlier this year has been sentenced to nine months in prison.

Norway sentences 'homemade bomb' teenager to nine months in prison
A police cordon in the Grønland area of Oslo after a bomb-like device was found on April 8th. File photo: Fredrik Varfjell / NTB scanpix

The teenager was arrested in the Grønland district of Oslo on the evening of Saturday April 8th this year.

He was carrying a homemade, bomb-like device consisting of lighter fluid and pieces cut from wire mesh fencing.

The Norwegian Police Security Service (Politiets sikkerhetstjeneste, PST) believe the teenager had intended to detonate the device in the Grønland area – an accusation he denies, reports broadcaster NRK.

Javeed Shah, defence lawyer for the 17-year-old, said that his client maintained since his arrest that he was on his way to a forested area at Grefsenkollen in the Norwegian capital, where he intended to test the bomb, when he was stopped by police.

“He is disappointed over the decision of the court regarding the question of guilt, but also happy that the court has given him a considerably lighter sentence than that requested by the prosecution,” Shah told NRK.

Norway’s state prosecution service had requested a two-year sentence be given to the Russian teenager.

The 210 days already he has already spent in custody awaiting trial will be deducted from the sentence.

Shah said that he and his client will consider carefully whether to appeal the sentence.

The 17-year-old was initially arrested on suspicion of breaching Norway’s anti-terrorism laws, but was finally charged with carrying explosives in public – an offence carrying a far lighter sentence.

A reconstruction of the homemade bomb by PST was key in reaching a final decision over the charge, having demonstrated the device’s limited potential to cause damage, writes NRK.

The police security agency is also considering an appeal against the verdict, according to the report.

“The reason that two years in prison were not given is that the district court considers that the intended action [detonation of the bomb, ed.] would not have been ‘particularly damaging to society’. We have a different view,” prosecutor Marit Bakkevig told NRK.

The agency found during its investigation of the case that the 17-year-old visited several websites with “jihadi” content. He also wrote to a friend that he had a “plan”, though he did not elaborate on this, NRK reports.

The trial initially took place behind closed doors before later being made open to the public.

READ ALSO: Norway bomb scare teenager avoids terror charge in trial

TERRORISM

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.

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