Norwegian police detain man suspected of serial sexual assaults in Oslo

Police in Oslo have arrested a man suspected of following a number of women to their homes with the intent of sexually assaulting them.

Norwegian police detain man suspected of serial sexual assaults in Oslo
Kari-Janne Lid, head Oslo Police's sex crimes department. File photo: Jon Olav Nesvold / NTB scanpix

The man, who is 37 years old, was arrested on Friday on suspicion of an attempted rape in the west of the Norwegian capital in February.

He was on Monday remanded in custody for four weeks without the right to visits, newspaper Dagbladet reports.

He has now been further placed under suspicion of four additional women in the central and Grünerløkka areas of Oslo, according to the report.

Oslo Police District announced the broadening of the case against the man in a press briefing on Monday.

Police will also investigate his connection with reports of similar incidents.

The four women are reported to have been attacked as they let themselves into their homes after being followed by him.

All are in their twenties and were on their way home from a night out when the incidents occurred, Dagbladet writes.

The suspect has admitted to assaulting the women but has denied attempting to rape them, according to the newspaper’s report.

The attacks took place between December 2017 and the spring of this year.

In court, the suspect said he had strangled the women until they lost consciousness before leaving the scenes of the attacks.

The court did not agree with police that it was overwhelmingly evident that he had attempted to rape the women. He did not appeal against the preliminary detention.

Kari-Janne Lid, head Oslo Police's sex crimes department, told Dagbladet that investigation of attacks on women in central Oslo and Grünerløkka has been ongong for a number of months, with similarities seen between a number of cases.

“We expect charges to be (further) extended,” Lid told Dagbladet, but declined to go into further detail.

The man’s defence lawyer, Sidsel Katralen, declined to comment on the case, but Dagbladet reports he has previous convictions for both rape and assault.

READ ALSO: Norway reveals rape and sexual assault scandal in Lapland


Two more arrested for suspected involvement in Oslo Pride shooting

Norwegian police said Monday they had arrested two alleged accomplices of the suspect in a June shooting that killed two people in Oslo on the sidelines of Pride celebrations.

Two more arrested for suspected involvement in Oslo Pride shooting

The two suspects were arrested on Sunday in Oslo suspected of “complicity in a terrorist act”, the Oslo police said in a statement.

One is a Somali man in his forties, the other a Norwegian in his thirties — both of them known to police. Their identities were not disclosed.

In the early hours of June 25, a man opened fire near a gay bar in central Oslo during celebrations linked to the city’s Pride festival.

The shooting killed two men, aged 54 and 60, and wounded 21 others. Immediately after the shooting, police arrested Zaniar Matapour, a
43-year-old Norwegian of Iranian origin, on suspicion of carrying out the attack.

The new arrests bring the number of people implicated in the attack to four, as Norwegian police announced last week they were seeking another suspect linked to the shooting.

On Friday, Oslo police announced that they had issued an international arrest warrant for Arfan Qadeer Bhatti, a 45-year-old Islamist with a prior conviction, who is also suspected of “complicity in a terrorist act”.

“The police still believes Bhatti is in Pakistan,” a country with which Norway has no extradition agreement, police said Monday.

“To ensure the best possible cooperation with the Pakistani authorities, we had Oslo police officers in Pakistan a short time ago,” it added.

According to police, they have not yet had direct contact with Arfan Bhatti but have spoken to his Norwegian lawyer, Svein Holden, and say they expect the legal proceedings in Pakistan to take time.