A 22-year-old man was finally ordered held in custody this week, after allegedly making repeated threats against Norway’s royal family, Prime Minister Erna Solberg and other members of her government. The young man had avoided jail earlier and then fled to Argentina.
Newspaper Aftenposten reported on Friday that the young man is charged with sending threatening letters and packets to the Parliament and Royal Palace containing a syringe filled with a milky fluid that could puncture the fingers of those opening it.
Members of the Royal Family were threatened with murder, kidnapping and assault. The young man signed the letters himself, and at least one of them claimed he was capable of building a bomb that would be quite powerful and could kill the entire royal family.
Arrested by PST
He also sent letters lodging similar threats against the prime minister and other ministers in her cabinet. The threats extended back to 2014, when he admitted to the charges in an indictment filed against him. Two months later he was arrested by the police intelligence unit PST, which claimed that he was capable of carrying out the threats. Aftenposten reported that he was not, however, jailed at the time, for reasons that were unclear.
By the time his case came up in court in January, the defendant had disappeared. He had fled to Argentina and initially was not willing to return to Oslo, but ultimately did travel back to Norway and was arrested shortly after his arrival in Oslo on Monday.
“This is a man we have been after and who we want to have control over,” Martin Bernsen of PST told Aftenposten. “We asked that he be jailed because among other things we believe there’s a danger he will try to avoid punishment.”
A local court sentenced him to remand custody for at least the next four weeks. He’s charged with making several threats, also new ones this past autumn, in October, before he fled to Argentina.
Defense calls for new psychiatric evaluation
“My client doesn’t acknowledge that, he has also withdrawn his acknowledgement of the charges in the earlier indictment,” defense attorney Erlend Liaklev Andersen told Aftenposten. Andersen said it also was important to note that his client voluntarily returned to Norway.
The court ruled, however, that it was probably the 22-year-old who also was behind the new threats, which were written in the “same handwriting” and carried out in the same fashion as the earlier threats.
The man has been declared mentally capable of standing trial but Andersen raised doubts and he would ask for a new evaluation.