Krekar won’t be released early

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A Norwegian court has rejected an appeal from Mullah Krekar, the Islamic guerrilla leader and cleric who came to Norway as a refugee, to be released early from prison. He’s serving jail time for making threats against Erna Solberg, who now serves as Norway’s prime minister.

Mullah Krekar, at the press conference with foreign correspondents in Oslo where he said things that were interpreted as threats against Erna Solberg, now Norway's prime minister. PHOTO: Nina Berglund/newsinenglish.no

Mullah Krekar at the press conference with foreign correspondents in Oslo where he said things that were interpreted as threats against Erna Solberg, now Norway’s prime minister. He later made others as well, according to the Norwegian court. PHOTO: Nina Berglund/newsinenglish.no

Krekar was sentenced in December 2012 to two years and 10 months in prison, after a highly publicized trial that resulted in his conviction for threatening not only Solberg but three other Kurdish activists.

Court precedent in Norway leaves convicts eligible for parole after serving just two-thirds of their sentence. By mid-February, that period had been reached, given Krekar’s earlier time in custody as well. His longtime defense attorney Brynjar Meling filed for a request on Krekar’s behalf that he thus be released from the prison in Kongsvinger where he’s been incarcerated.

Website VG.no reported on Monday that the request was turned down. Meling claimed it was the latest in a long line of court decisions against Krekar in Norway that both he and his client view as evidence that Norway’s legal system treats Krekar differently from other defendants and convicts. Meling told VG the rejection of parole for Krekar has been appealed.

Krekar, who has mostly lived off Norwegian welfare since first seeking asylum in Norway more than 20 years ago, earlier had also been deemed a threat to Norway’s national security after a long line of other complaints against him. Efforts to deport him back to Northern Iraq, however, have failed repeatedly because Iraqi authorities can’t guarantee he won’t face a death sentence in his homeland. Norwegian authorities refuse to deport persons if their lives will be in danger after repatriation.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund