Isis-linked Norwegian woman denies charges in terror case

A woman on trial in Oslo has denied charges of supporting the Islamic State (Isis) terror group in Syria.

Isis-linked Norwegian woman denies charges in terror case
A file photo of the al-Hol camp in Syria. Photo: Delil SOULEIMAN/AFP

The 30-year-old woman’s trial is underway at the district court in Oslo. She answered “no” when the charges were read out to her on Monday, Norwegian media reported.

The trial, which is expected to take four weeks, has gained significant attention in Norway after the woman was returned to the country from the al-Hol refugee camp in northern Syria. The woman, who has two children, was arrested after arriving at Oslo Airport.

One of her children was seriously ill when the family of three was returned to Oslo.

Disagreement over the decision to bring the woman and children back to Norway on humanitarian grounds resulted in the breakup of the former coalition government in January 2020.

The anti-immigration Progress Party stepped down from Erna Solberg’s government at the time, having criticized the decision, arguing that that the risk of allowing a person linked to Isis into Norway outweighs the country’s humanitarian duty to help the child.

READ ALSO: Populist party quits Norwegian government over jihadi spouse repatriation

The woman was born in Pakistan, first arrived in Norway as a child and grew up in Oslo.

She left an Isis-controlled area of eastern Syria in March 2019 and was subsequently accommodated at al-Hol.

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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.