A court in Oslo convicted three young Norwegian citizens on Friday for their ties to the brutal extremist group that calls itself The Islamic State (IS). The men were sentenced to prison terms of up to nearly five years after they were found to have fought for IS in Syria.
It marked the first time a Norwegian court has handled a case in which Norwegian citizens were indicted for taking part in fighting for a terrorist group. Norwegian police believe that scores of young Norwegian men from all over the country have traveled to the Middle East to serve as “foreign fighters” for extremist groups.
The Oslo city court (Oslo tingrett) sentenced one of the men, 28-year-old Valon Avdyli, to four years and nine months in prison for fighting for IS in Syria. Avdyli’s family had emigrated to Norway from Albania and his brother Egzon was killed fighting in Syria last year.
The court also sentenced 30-year-old Djibril Abdi Bashir, whose family came from Somalia, to four years and three months in prison, also for fighting for IS in Syria. A third man, the younger brother of the Avdylis, was sentenced for seven months in prison for violating Norway’s weapons laws.
Prosecutor Jan Glent was pleased with the convictions and the jail terms. “This is close to what we had asked for, not least regarding the court’s evaluation of the terror verdict,” Glent told state broadcaster NRK.
Swore allegiance to IS
Bashir and the elder Avdyli were found to have sworn allegiance to IS in May 2013 and both cooperated with IS in Syria until January of last year. Prosecutors successfully argued that they broke Norwegian law by taking part in a terrorist organization.
The court noted in its ruling that the two defendants were strongly committed to IS and had expressed a willingness to return to fight in Syria after they’d come home to Norway.
All three defendants, who also were tied to the Islamic group Profetens Ummah in Norway, had denied guilt. Appeals were pending.