June 6, 2023

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Norway: Imprisonment in view of author of arch attack

A judge in the custody of 37-year-old Espen Anderson Breton, who admitted to being the author of a deadly archery attack in Norway, is due to be sentenced on Friday.

Emotions were high in the quiet city of Kansberg in the southeast of Scandinavia, where residents gathered Thursday evening to pray with candles.

“We are a small community, we have to be with each other,” 29-year-old teacher Christine Johansson told AFP.

The 37-year-old Danish citizen, who was described by police as having converted to Islam and reported extremism, admitted that he had carried out the attack, including a bow and arrow, before being arrested.

“We want to keep him in custody for at least four weeks,” Attorney General Iron Swan Mathiason told AFP.

The Kansberg court is due to rule on Friday morning, but without presiding over the alleged attacker: according to police, Breton did not object to his imprisonment, allowing a simplified procedure. “I do not think he will appear,” Ms. Swan Mathiason said.

Particularly in the light of operational policy, the suspect was blindfolded and warned of possible exacerbations, meaning that the path of Islamic terrorism seems to have been privileged.

“There is no doubt that this act may have been a terrorist act, but it is important now that the investigation is progressing and that the motive of the suspect is clarified,” PST leader Hans Schwarzold told a news conference Thursday.

Authorities also did not rule out the possibility of mental disorders.

“He’s a person who has been going back and forth through the health care system for a while,” Schwarzowalt said.

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According to Ms Swan Mathiasen, Breten began a psychiatric assessment on Thursday, but the findings are expected to take several months.

– “Never smile” –

The suspect is “known” to the PST, which is particularly responsible for counter-terrorism in Norway, but some details have been provided in this regard.

“Previously there were fears related to intensification,” said police officer Ole Frederub Severut. Those fears were 2020 and earlier, and led to police pursuit, he said.

According to Norwegian media reports, Breten has been the target of two court rulings in the past: last year he threatened to kill one of two close family members and in 2012 was banned from stealing and buying hashish.

A video about him from 2017 was also discovered by several media outlets, where he has been doing the profession of faith in a threatening tone. “I am an ambassador. I came with a warning: + Do you really want this?

Acting alone, according to police, Pradhan killed four women, aged 50 and 70, and one man in several locations in Kansberg, a small town of about 25,000 people, about 80 kilometers west of Oslo.

Anonymous, a neighbor described him as a large structure and a friendly man with a haircut. “A smile, no expression on his face,” he told AFP, adding that he had seen him “always alone”.

Several planned Islamic attacks in Norway have been thwarted in the past.

But over the past ten years the country has been plagued by two far-right attacks, including the July 22, 2011 attack by Anders Behring Breivik (77 killed).

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