Country Reports on Terrorism 2008 - Norway

Norwegian authorities considered the threat of terrorist attacks in Norway low and the widespread belief among the general public was that Norway was not in danger of attack. In December, the parliament revised its counterterrorism laws in order to be able to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism. These revisions allowed incitement, recruiting, and training for terrorist acts to become punishable offenses independent of whether an attack is actually carried out. They also, however, require specific "intent" to commit an act that causes terrorism, whereas the prior standard had been "willfulness" to commit the act.

In February, Norwegian police arrested three suspects of Somali descent for financing terrorism by collecting money for al-Shabaab. (Three others were arrested in Sweden.) Charges against five were eventually dropped; only one suspect remained under investigation in Norway, although he is not in custody and retained his passport. Members of the Norwegian press criticized Norway's failure to maintain a separate terrorist organization list, on the grounds that, absent such a list, people cannot know which organizations are illegal to contribute to.

In May a court convicted Afran Bhatti of conspiracy to commit "serious vandalism" in connection with gunshots fired at the Oslo synagogue in 2006, but acquitted Bhatti of the charge of terrorism in connection with the shooting and plots to attack the United States and Israeli embassies. The court sentenced Bhatti to eight years' imprisonment for attempted murder and threatening behavior, separate charges unrelated to the synagogue shooting and embassy plots, with the possibility of additional detention based upon review of his danger to society. Bhatti remained in custody pending his appeal of the attempted murder conviction.

Norway contributed more than 500 troops to International Security Assistance Force efforts in Afghanistan.

As a country participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), Norway continued to comply with requirements in the VWP law related to information sharing and other law enforcement and counterterrorism cooperation. This cooperation was further enhanced by the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007.


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