Kongsberg attacker sentenced to psychiatric care by Norwegian court

A Norwegian court has sentenced a Danish man to full-time psychiatric care after he pleaded guilty to stabbing five people to death and shooting a bow and arrow at others in an attack in Kongsberg last year.

Kongsberg attacker sentenced to psychiatric care by Norwegian court
The Kongsberg attacker has been sentenced to compulsory mental health care. Picture: A screen grab shows Espen Andersen Brathen, the perpetrator of the Kongsberg attack, in a video. Photo by AFP/ screengrab.

Espen Andersen Brathen, who is Danish but lives in Norway, used a bow and arrow inside and outside a supermarket to attack several people before stabbing five other residents to death in their homes or on the street last October.

Last month, the 38-year-old who has long-suffered from mental illness, pleaded guilty to the charges of murder and attempted murder.

In their verdict delivered Thursday, the judges said “the defendant clearly had comprehension and functional disorders because of his condition” at the time of the attack.

“The court therefore finds that the defendant cannot be held criminally responsible for any of the charges,” the verdict said

Brathen had been living for years in Kongsberg, home to about 25,000 people some 80 kilometres (50 miles) west of the capital Oslo, and authorities have said he had a medical history.

The Norwegian security services PST, which are responsible for counter-terrorism, also said the man had been on their radar.

He was arrested 35 minutes after the first reports of an attack and was swiftly moved to a medical institution.

Three experts who observed him concluded that he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

Both the prosecution and the defence argued that he could not be held criminally responsible and advocated a psychiatric commitment rather than a prison sentence.

READ ALSO: Dane pleads guilty to killing five in knife attack in Norway

According to the prosecution, Brathen was armed with a bow, 60 arrows and four knives on the day of the attacks.His victims were four women and one man aged from 52 to 78.

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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.