Wednesday, June 04, 2008

'Vandalism, not terrorism'

I posted a few items here, here and here nearly two years ago about a synagogue in Oslo that got shot up. A suspect was quickly arrested, and charged with acts of terrorism against the synagogue, and planned acts of terrorism against the Israeli and American embassies. The suspect, one Arfan Qadeer Bhatti, was acquitted. It seems the court thought that firing shots at a synagogue was an act of vandalism, not terrorism.
The judge ruled that it couldn't be proved that either Bhatti or accomplice Andreas Bog Kristiansen entered into a binding and intentional agreement to carry out terrorist acts on the Israeli and American embassies. Heger said he could see no hard evidence for that, nor could he see that the shots fired at the synagogue amounted to a terrorist act.

Rather, he said, the court viewed the synagogue shooting as an act of serious vandalism. He conceded that the taped recordings of Bhatti’s verbal threats contained frightening thoughts and ideas, but ruled that they needed to be understood in their proper context.
This dirtbag doesn't get to walk, though. The article notes that he was convicted for other shootings and for attempted murder, and the court ordered him held under a Norwegian law for up to eight years or more.
Bhatti, who has a long criminal record, was thus ordered held in preventive custody for up to eight years, and possibly longer under the relatively harsh Norwegian sentence known as forvaring. It can result in indefinite custody.

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