Overview: The Norwegian government continued to build its counterterrorism capacity and issued an action plan to counter extremist ideology. Authorities arrested and charged three al-Qa'ida-connected terrorist suspects, pursued charges against Ansar al-Islam leader Mullah Krekar for threatening a public official and inciting terrorism, implemented improved passport security measures, and commenced legal proceedings against a Norwegian-Somali suspected of financing terrorism.

Legislation and Law Enforcement: A new Immigration Act entered into force on January 1, 2010, authorizing the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) to issue instructions to other agencies relating to visa applicants on the EU terror list. The MOJ instructed the Directorate of Immigration, the Immigration Appeals Board, Norwegian foreign missions, and police to issue neither visas nor residence permits to persons who are on the EU terror list, or to persons associated with organizations on the list, before forwarding such visa applications to the MOJ for consideration.

In February 2009, the jury in an appeals court had affirmed a lower court's conviction of Arfan Bhatti for attempted murder and aggravated vandalism; it also affirmed a sentence of eight years imprisonment in the case. Following a retrial in May 2010, the Court of Appeal found Bhatti guilty of causing criminal damage to the synagogue but acquitted him of attempted murder. The court sentenced Bhatti to two years imprisonment on the vandalism charge, but annulled the sentence because he had already spent three years in pretrial custody. The State Prosecutor chose not to appeal the verdict.

In July, three persons with Norwegian citizenship or residency were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit a terrorist act in Norway. According to open source reports, three were born outside of Norway and had al-Qa'ida connections. The three men, Mikael Davoud, Shawan Bujak, and David Jakobsen, were placed in custody pending further investigation and trial. In September, suspects Davud and Bujak each confessed to plotting a terrorist attack, albeit against different targets. The third suspect, Jakobsen, continued to deny the charges. The Supreme Court ordered Jakobsen released from custody on September 15; the other two suspects remained in pre-trial detention at year's end.

In December, the Oslo District Court acquitted Abdirahman Abdi Osman, a Norwegian citizen of Somali ancestry, of charges of knowingly collecting approximately US$ 34,000 for a terrorist organization and knowingly contributing funds to a terrorist organization. The court found that although a certain amount of the money Osman admitted transferring may have gone to finance al-Shabaab, the money was not earmarked for specific terrorist purposes, and the Norway-based contributors did not control how the money was used. Based on Osman's admission that he transferred money to an armed group, the court fined him US$ 1700 for breaking the UN's weapons embargo on Somalia but also annulled the sum due to time spent in custody. The State Prosecutor has appealed the verdict.

Mullah Krekar (aka Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad), the founder of Ansar al-Islam, an organization on both the U.S. list of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations and the UN list of entities linked to terrorist activities, resides in Norway. He has been arrested on several occasions in previous years by Norwegian law enforcement. To date, authorities have been unable to collect sufficient evidence to convict him (membership in a terrorist organization is not a criminal offense in Norway). Based on threats he issued against a prominent Norwegian politician during a press conference in Oslo in June, authorities questioned him in court and, in September, initiated preliminary charges against him for threats against public officials, general threats, and incitement to terrorism.

Countering Terrorist Finance: The Government of Norway adopted the Financial Action Task Force's standards and recommendations, including the special recommendations on terrorist financing, and incorporated them into Norwegian law.

Regional and International Cooperation: On February 1, the government ratified the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism, which entered into force in Norway on June 1.

As of April 6, fingerprint information was required in all newly issued Norwegian passports, consistent with an EU directive on the use of biometrics in EU/Schengen passports. Although not an EU member, Norway was required to implement the EU directive as a signatory of the European Economic Area Agreement and the Schengen agreement. Norway continued to permit the use of passports issued before April 6, as long as they were otherwise valid.

Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: In December, the Norwegian government issued an action plan to counter extremist ideology as a key part of its counterterrorism strategy. The plan contained 30 measures that apply from 2010 to 2013 and focuses on four priority areas: 1) increased knowledge and information; 2) strengthened government cooperation; 3) strengthened dialogue and involvement; and 4) support for vulnerable and disadvantaged people.

The Oslo municipality continued its OXLO campaign, "Oslo Extra Large," to facilitate integration and understanding. This year's campaign posters, describing the city as a place that welcomes diversity, were placed at bus and tram stops and metro stations, and school leaders and teachers were encouraged to discuss the campaign with students. In September, government and religious leaders attended the OXLO-Conference 2010, "Dialogue in a Multi-Cultural Society."


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