Finance minister in court after receiving threats

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A man charged with threatening Norwegian Finance Minister Sigbjørn Johnsen apologized directly to Johnsen when both had to appear in court on Monday. The man faces 15 years in prison.

Finance Minister Sigbjørn Johnsen

“It will be difficult to be as sociable after this,” Johnsen, known for his friendly and folksy style, admitted in court.

The drama began in June, when the 45-year-old defendant called Johnsen on the phone, demanded money and read off a threat into Johnsen’s answering machine that he would shoot him in the neck unless he complied. The next day, the man also called Johnsen’s wife and daughter and threatened to attack them too.

Police tracked him down and arrested him, and a court-appointed psychiatrist has since declared him insane. Prosecutors thus want him committed to a psychiatric institution instead of prison, while his defense attorney claims he is no longer psychotic and seeks acquittal.

A verdict is due on Thursday. The case is the latest in a series of threats against Norwegian politicians and government officials, many of whom now have bodyguards.

Views and News staff