Critics blast PST, again

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Norway’s police intelligence unit PST was under more heavy criticism after it told visiting controversial Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard to return to Denmark when they feared he’d be the target of an assassination attempt in Oslo.

Representatives from most of Norway’s political parties said they were stunned and upset that the Norwegian police instead didn’t or couldn’t offer to protect Westergaard. The political cartoonist for newspaper VG was also disturbed, and even a top Danish politician said he would urge Denmark’s foreign minister to take up the issue.

“Can it really be true that the Norwegian intelligence service isn’t able to take responsibility for his security?” Peter Saarup said to Danish news bureau Ritzau. “If that’s the case, then Norway really has a problem with Islamists.”

Westergaard has lived under threats since he drew cartoons of the prophet Mohammed that most Muslims found offensive. Issues of freedom of expression have often taken precedence over the offense, though, and PST’s critics felt PST hadn’t acted to defend democratic principles guaranteeing such freedom.

Representatives of both the Progress Party and the Labour Party said they intended to take up the issue with Justice Minister Knut Storberget. PST has refused to comment on its advice to Westergaard.

Views and News staff