Supporters of Norwegian black metal musician and convicted murderer Kristian “Varg” Vikernes sent out an appeal over the internet, urging fans to pack out the Paris courthouse where he would stand trial on Tuesday. Vikernes was last year charged with inciting racial hatred and justifying war crimes on his blog, after French police failed in an attempt to charge him with preparing a terrorist act.
Vikernes, who now goes by the name of Louis Cachet, was arrested alongside his pregnant French wife at their family farm in central France last July. Weapons seized from the property were found to be legally acquired, and the court rejected the authorities’ terrorism claims, reported news bureau NTB.
French police then charged him with hate crimes, but the trial set for last October was postponed after Vikernes’ lawyer Julien Freyssinet only received the almost 1,000 pages of investigative documents just before the trial was due to start. Freyssinet said at the time he believed the charges were simply a means of justifing the considerable cost of the investigation against Vikernes.
The metal musician’s fans flocked to the court in Paris last October, and planned to do the same again on Tuesday. “He risks five years in prison and 45,000 euros in fines,” read the online post. “Let us meet up in large numbers to support him against arbitrary treatment by the authorities.” Vikernes reportedly sourced NOK 120,000 last August when he put out a call for funding to sue the French authorities for his arrest and the way he was treated by counter-terrorism police.
Vikernes served a 16 year prison term for stabbing his band’s guitarist to death and burning down several Norwegian churches. A commission concluded last September there were no grounds to expel Vikernes from France, because he posed no threat to the public. Newly-elected interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve had not made a final decision on the case.