Bhatti set free in Pakistan

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Arfan Bhatti, the Norwegian convict who turned into an Islamic extremist, has been released from 21 months in a Pakistani prison but says he has no desire to return to Norway. It’s unclear whether he’ll be extradited.

Bhatti, best known for his years as a gang leader and extortionist in Oslo and later for making threats against a synagogue and the US Embassy, had traveled to the Middle East in 2012 to engage in jihad (holy war), only to be arrested in January 2013 somewhere along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The charges against him were never made clear, but he was held in a Pakistani prison until recently.

His Norwegian attorney John Christian Elden told state broadcaster NRK that Bhatti was “relieved” to get out of prison and that he had been in contact with his family in Norway. They had reported him missing when they hadn’t heard from him for several weeks, even though Bhatti also had a record of violence against his own family members.

Elden said Bhatti did not want any assistance from Norway’s foreign ministry and hoped to stay in Pakistan as long as he could. “He hopes he won’t be sent back to Norway,” Elden said. Norwegian government officials, meanwhile, have been discussing means of refusing to allow jihadists to return to Norway.

newsinenglish.no staff