Norway’s biggest terrorist case ever took a dramatic turn on Monday, when prosecutors claimed that suspects arrested last week planned to carry out a terrorist attack within Norway itself. One of the three suspects was also revealed to be an informant for the police intelligence unit PST (Politiets sikkerhetstjeneste).
Two of the three were in court in Oslo on Monday, where prosecutors asked that they be held in custody for at least eight weeks while their investigation continues. The first court hearing involved the 31-year-old suspect from Uzbekistan, David Jakobsen, formerly known as Abdulaif Alisjer. He came to Norway as an asylum seeker in 2002 and ultimately was granted permanent residence status.
Signe Aalling of the PST told reporters during a break in the closed-door court proceedings that the three suspects planned a terror attack on Norwegian soil. Speculation had swirled as to whether the target of the alleged attack was in Norway or another country, possibly the US or Great Britain. Aalling wouldn’t specify where in Norway or when the alleged attack was supposed to have occurred.
Suspect turned informant
Both men appearing in the local court Oslo Tingrett on Monday are charged with planning a terrorist attack. Charges against Jakobsen, however, were altered to terror planning prior to November 20, 2009.
Both Aalling and Jakobsen’s attorney, Kjell Dahl, said Jakobsen became an informant for PST last year when he became uneasy about what the other two, 37-year-old Shawan Sadek Saeed Bujak from Iraq and 39-year-old Mikael Davud, a Uyghur formerly known as Muhammed Rashidin, were planning.
The 37-year-old Iraqi was arrested in Duisberg, Germany last Thursday, and has been jailed there pending his extradition to Norway, where he was granted asylum after his arrival in 1999.
Dahl told reporters Monday that his client has cooperated closely with PST, meeting with PST agents weekly at one point. “PST now carries full responsibility for his safety,” Dahl told NRK.
Surprised by his arrest
Dahl said that Jakobsen at first thought his arrest along with the two was part of an undercover job to protect his status as informant. Instead it was revealed that he’d been under surveillance by PST before he turned informant, so PST is maintaining charges against him.
“Now he’s dismayed that he’s charged in the case,” his attorney told NRK. “It’s very special that PST has behaved in this manner.”
All three suspects deny having any ties to terrorist organizations. Both men in court in Oslo on Monday argued for their release.