Krekar faces indictment and jail
January 21, 2011
Mullah Krekar, charged last fall with making threats and inciting terrorist acts, now faces indictment by Norwegian prosecutors and could get hit with a 15-year jail term. It seems increasingly unlikely that he’ll be sent back to northern Iraq, either forcibly or of his own free will.
A spokesman for Norway’s police intelligence unit PST told newspaper Dagsavisen and other media that he could “confirm that we are working with a proposal for an indictment in connection with the threats Krekar made last year.”
The PST’s conclusions will be delivered to state criminal prosecutors for a decision on whether they’ll file a case against Krekar, who won asylum in Norway in the early 1990s but later violated its terms by traveling back to the area he fled to run a guerrilla group there. He ultimately was deemed a threat to national security, has often sparked public outrage, and Norwegian authorities want to expel him, but haven’t sent him back to northern Iraq (Kurdistan) for fear he’d be executed.
This week, Krekar tried to grab the media spotlight once again by repeating earlier claims that he’d like to “go home,” but only if his name is stricken from international lists of terrorist suspects. That’s unlikely to occur, given his past.
Now Erna Solberg, head of Norway’s Conservative Party and among those targeted by Krekar’s threats, says Krekar must be prevented from leaving Norway if he’s under indictment.
“I believe that people who do something wrong should be convicted, and it would be unnatural to send someone out (of the country) if a conviction is looming,” Solberg told Dagsavisen. “If Krekar is indicted, it’s my opinion that he can’t be sent out of the country or be allowed to travel out of the country until his case is handled and decided.”
Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said earlier this week that Krekar can leave whenever he wants, and Norwegian officials have made it clear he’s no longer welcome in Norway. Solberg, who also tried to deport him when she was a government minister herself, now points out, though, that Krekar’s passport was taken from him so he has no travel documents. No airline, she added, would allow him on a flight since he’s on the lists of terror suspects.
Meanwhile, many experts agree that northern Iraq is not nearly as dangerous as it once was. Newspaper Aftenposten noted Friday that the Kurdish area has had free elections and economic development and is expected to become an independent state, with secular parties living in more peace with one another.
Krekar indicated this week that he may want to run for office himself in the area, although his former guerrilla group is far from popular. Kurdistan may not want Krekar back, but if Krekar himself doesn’t think his life is in danger, Norwegian authorities may send him back, possibly even to serve a jail term if he’s indicted and convicted on the current charges.