A court in Oslo granted a police request on Friday to hold Mullah Krekar in custody for at least four weeks, after the Islamic cleric once again was charged with making threats and encouraging violent acts. Krekar’s defense attorney filed an immediate appeal.
The court agreed with prosecutors that statements Krekar made during an interview with Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Wednesday were inflammatory and in violation of Norwegian law. Krekar stood by his statements during his court appearance on Friday afternoon and had no regrets.
His attorney, Brynjar Meling, appealed on the grounds that Krekar has earlier been jailed for making the same statements and can’t be punished twice for the same offense. Prosecutors and the court disagreed. They noted that Krekar’s statements, for example that anyone who draws caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed deserves to die, were much clearer and more aggressive and broke the law again.
“The terror danger he poses is intolerable,” prosecutor Vegard Rødås told NRK. “It is intolerable that he tries to destroy the lives of people. What he has said is disgusting and cannot be accepted.”
NRK has itself caught criticism for airing Krekar’s comments and thus giving him a mouthpiece. Growing numbers of leading Muslims in Norway have claimed that Krekar has himself become a caricature and should not be given so much attention, and various media editors agree. NRK editors, however, responded that extreme attitudes “must be met openly with debate, analysis and opposition.”
Classified evidence can be presented
Rødås claimed that Krekar can’t be allowed to go free when he continually incites violence. “When he can’t manage to manage himself, then we have to do it for him,” Rødås said.
Krekar was arrested at his home in Oslo Thursday night, just days before an appeals court is due to rule on whether police can forcibly move him from Oslo to a small village several hundred kilometers away. Police want to confine him pending a longstanding deportation order to Iraq that authorities haven’t been able to carry out.
Prosecutors will be able to use classified evidence against Krekar that they claim proves he remains a threat to national security in Oslo. Crown Prince Haakon, acting as regent in the absence of his father, approved appointment of a special attorney to handle the classified evidence during Friday’s session of the Council of State.
Security was extremely heavy, meanwhile, at an exhibit of caricatures that opened in Drammen on Friday. It’s highly unusual to have armed police on rooftops, streets cordoned off and metal detectors at the entrance of an art exhibit in Norway, but police were taking extra precautions following the recent attacks by an Islamic extremist in Copenhagen.