Country Report on Terrorism 2012 - Chapter 2 - Norway

Overview: Although the Norwegian Police Security Service considers violent Islamist extremism the biggest threat to Norway, the July 2011 attacks in Oslo and Utoya, conducted by a Norwegian violent extremist, have heavily influenced the Government of Norway’s approach to countering terrorism. The report of the independent July 22 commission that was formed to evaluate Norway’s handling of the attacks was issued in August and detailed a number of preparedness and response failings. Partially in response to this, authorities have continued focusing on new terrorism prosecutions, expanding efforts to counter violent extremism, strengthening cyber security measures, and proposing legislative changes to penalize individual terrorists (those not affiliated with groups). The government is also focusing on efforts to criminalize terrorist training, to criminalize the possession of certain materials that may be used by terrorists, and to increase surveillance tools for the Police Security Service. In the wake of these attacks, the government has also continued to increase security measures at government buildings and security for government officials.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The government is currently in the process of crafting legislation to strengthen its counterterrorism laws. Following a lengthy public discussion period, the Ministry of Justice is writing new legislation that will be presented to Parliament for approval in 2013. The law is expected to include provisions to close the “lone wolf” loophole (which requires proof of a large conspiracy for a terrorist conviction) and to criminalize the receipt of terrorist training.

Norway is a party to EU border control data sharing arrangements. Norwegian immigration authorities obtained biometric equipment for the fingerprinting of arrivals from outside the Schengen area, though they have not yet implemented this program. Immigration to Norway is facilitated and regulated by the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI), which processes all applications for asylum, visas, family immigration, work and study permits, citizenship, permanent residence, and travel documents. In 2012, UDI took steps to improve border control with the introduction of a new Norwegian permanent residency permit card. Introduced as a part of the Schengen Agreement, the new card is tied to fingerprint and facial biometrics, has numerous security features, is required to be renewed regularly, and the bearer is charged approximately US $50 for replacing a lost or stolen card.

Anders Behring Breivik was found guilty of murder and assault as a result of his 2011 attacks in Oslo and on the island of Utoya. The trial began in April 2012 and concluded in August. The court found him competent to stand trial, sane at the time of the acts, and gave him the maximum possible sentence of 21 years. This sentence can be reviewed by a court and extended by up to five years at a time, as many times as the government seeks court review and applies for extension.

An Iraqi citizen, Mullah Krekar (aka Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad), the founder of Ansar al-Islam, continued to reside in Norway on a long-term residence permit. In March, a trial court convicted Krekar of issuing threats and inciting terrorism, and sentenced him to six years in prison. Krekar appealed, and in December an appeals court affirmed his convictions for issuing threats and intimidating witnesses, but reversed his conviction for "inciting terrorism." The appeals court reduced his sentence to two years and 10 months in prison.

On September 20, a court of appeals upheld terrorist charges against Mikael Davud and Shawan Bujak. They and a third Norwegian long-term resident, David Jakobsen, were charged with plotting an attack on a Danish newspaper that published cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammed. The court of appeals increased Davud’s sentence from six to seven years, and reduced Bujak’s from four years to three-and-a-half years. The appeals court overturned Jacobsen’s conviction on terrorist charges but confirmed his conviction for purchasing bomb ingredients. Davud and Bujak have indicated that they will appeal to the Supreme Court; that hearing date was pending at year’s end. These were the first terrorism convictions in Norway’s courts.

Countering Terrorist Finance: Norway is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and held the FATF presidency in 2012. The Government of Norway adopted and incorporated FATF standards and recommendations, including the special recommendations on terrorist financing, into Norwegian law. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes:

Regional and International Cooperation: Norway continued its support for the UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) with a contribution of US $446,000 to a project designed to facilitate counterterrorism technical assistance in two pilot countries (Nigeria and Burkina Faso), and a contribution of US $80,300 to a CTITF project on implementing the regional counterterrorism strategy for Central Asia. Norway has also provided US $80,300 to a joint project led by the UN’s Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate and the Center on Global Counterterrorism Cooperation to promote regional counterterrorism cooperation in South Asia. Furthermore, Norway has provided US $375,000 to the University of Pretoria’s Institute for Strategic Studies to build counterterrorism capacity in the police and judiciary systems of African countries. Norway remains a member of the EU's Radicalization Awareness Network, an umbrella network of practitioners and local actors involved in countering violent extremism that is designed to enable the members to share and discuss best practices in spotting and addressing radicalization and recruitment leading to acts of terrorism.

Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: The Norwegian government continues to implement its plan to counter radicalization and violent extremism. The plan covers 2010 to 2013 and focuses on four priority areas: increased knowledge and information; strengthened government cooperation; strengthened dialogue and involvement; and support for vulnerable and disadvantaged people.

On November 8, the Police Security Services and the Oslo Police announced a plan to address radicalization in Oslo. The plan will be modeled on previous initiatives to de-radicalize members of violent right-wing extremist groups.