State claims it has a strong case against indicted terror suspects

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All three of the men arrested by Norwegian police in the summer of 2010 on charges of planning a terrorist act have been indicted for exactly that. Mikael Davud, David Jakobsen and Shawan Sadek Saeed Bujak face 12 years in prison, and prosecutor Geir Evanger thinks the state has a strong case.

“Small pieces are steadily coming together that strengthen the case against the three,” Evanger told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) Tuesday afternoon. The indictments were handed down on Monday.

Evanger said the Norwegian police have cooperated closely with foreign police and security forces. “We have now built up a broad body of evidence and the investigation is still going on,” Evanger said. “The suspects’ own statements and confessions play a central role. In addition we’ve conducted surveillance, tapped telephone conversations, followed e-mail correspondence and examined computer equipment.”

Evanger told NRK that investigations have been carried out in the US and England as well. “With all the pieces put together it’s beyond a reasonable doubt that they have acted as the indictment describes,” he claimed.

‘Surprised’
Davud and Bujak already have been held in custody for more than a year while Jakobsen was released last October but remained charged. His defense attorney said Jakobsen, originally from Uzbekistan, was surprised that he also was indicted, but told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that he looked forward to “illuminate the realities” in the case.

Jakobsen and Davud were arrested in Oslo while Bujak was arrested while on an alleged family holiday in Germany. Bujak, originally from Iraq, reportedly has confessed to planning a terrorist attack, identifying the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten as the target. The newspaper infuriated many Muslims when it published caricatures of the prophet Muhammed in 2005.

Davud had said, under separate questioning, that the trio planned to bomb China’s embassy in Oslo. He was angry with the Chinese for oppression suffered by his Uighur family in northwest China, but police later rejected his confession to the alleged embassy plans, because Davud couldn’t tell them where the embassy was located in Oslo.

Bomb-building charges and Danish targets
Now Norway’s police intelligence unit PST believes the three planned to build a powerful bomb and that the group had links to al-Qaeda. An international probe also has looked into links between the three men and terror suspects in the UK and US.

The Norwegian indictment claims the three suspects’ target was both Jyllands-Posten and Danish political cartoonist Kurt Westergaard. In addition to their alleged efforts to build a bomb, the men are accused of having tried to acquire firearms as well.

Davud’s defense attorney, Karl Konow Rieber-Mohn said he was surprised the authorities were concentrating on the Danish targets. “PST has always talked about terror in Norway,” Rieber-Mohn told NRK. “Now they’re moving completely away from that, putting everything into the Danish track.”

The trial is due to start October 31.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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