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Friday, May 24, 2024

Preacher struck deal for Congo convicts

A preacher from southern Norway who’s been trying to help extradite two young Norwegian murder convicts from prison in the Democratic Republic of Congo is now launching fund-raising efforts on their behalf, after striking a compensation deal with the family of the murder victim.

Rune Edvardsen, best known for his music and evangelism, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) over the weekend that an agreement had been signed with the widow of taxi driver Abedi Kasongo. He was found murdered outside Kisangani in eastern Congo last year, and the two Norwegians who had hired him, Joshua French and Tjostolv Moland, were later convicted and sentenced to death.

They’ve been held in a military prison in Kisangani ever since and Edvardsen involved himself in negotiations for an eventual transfer to Norway. Local laws allow extradition only after crime victims are satisfied with compensation, but Kasongo’s family had been seeking millions of US dollars.

Edvardsen told newspaper Dagbladet and other reporters late last week that he’d bargained that down to the equivalent of NOK 600,000 (about USD 100,000) but neither French nor Moland have even that much money to pay Kasongo’s family, he said.

He’s thus launching a so-called kronerulling (fundraising effort) in the hopes that Norwegian donors will contribute to “help bring the boys home.,” Edvardsen told Dagbladet. Norway’s Foreign Ministry was not involved in the compensation negotiations.

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