Thousands gather for funeral of woman kidnapped, murdered

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An estimated 3,000 mourners filled an Oslo mosque on Friday to pay their last respects to Faiza Ashraf. The body of the 26-year-old woman, kidnapped in suburban Oslo earlier this month, was found on Thursday, and police have her confessed murderer and another suspect under arrest.

Ashraf’s body was found in a forest area near the popular Solli trail head in Asker. Police had searched for her for weeks, but now believe she was murdered the same day she was abducted, on February 3.

Ashraf (photo) disappeared after she called police herself on her mobile phone to report that she’d been kidnapped from a bus stop at Høvik and stuffed into the trunk of a car.

Ashraf, who worked for Swedish clothing chain Hennes & Mauritz in Oslo, had walked from her family’s home to the nearby bus stop early on the morning of February 3. She reportedly had told her colleagues the day before that she intended to come in to work early that day.

Witnesses later told police they saw a woman struggling with a man at the bus stop, and had seen a parked car with its trunk open.

Ashraf (photo, from the Norwegian Police) managed to maintain phone contact with police from inside the trunk of the car for more than an hour, even though it was interrupted. Before police lost contact with her, she’d given them the name of an unwanted Pakistani-Norwegian suitor as an immediate suspect. She said the man who actually abducted her, however, was an unknown ethnic Norwegian man.

Two men matching her descriptions were arrested and remain in custody, and police said Thursday that the alleged Norwegian abductor has now admitted both kidnapping Ashraf and killing her that same day. He told police where to find her body, about 500 meters from a large public parking lot at Solli, a popular starting point for skiing and hiking trails in the forest known as Vestmarka.

The other suspect, a former taxi driver with a criminal record, continues to deny any connection with the case.

Police had conducted a massive search for the woman, after tracing her mobile phone’s signals to Asker. They had focused on the area around Dikemark, and the search included door-to-door questioning of local residents and helicopters.

A local court ordered both men to be held for at least another four weeks, while charges against them were raised to attempted murder and accomplice to murder.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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