Najumuddin Faraj Ahmad, better known as the controversial Islamic cleric Mullah Krekar, is suing the Norwegian state for NOK 200,000 (around USD 25,000). He claims he’s owed compensation after being held in custody for nine months pending appeal of a conviction that resulted in an acquittal.
An appeals court acquitted him last month of charges he had made threats, and he immediately signalled his intention to sue after being released from detention. Krekar had been serving time at a prison in Kongsberg on another conviction as well, but that sentence was finished.
Now Krekar’s longtime defense attorney Brynjar Meling has officially filed the legal claim for monetary compensation, on the grounds the legal process against his client had destroyed his “good name and reputation.”
It remains to be seen how the court will evaluate any damage to Krekar’s reputation. He came to Norway as a refugee from Northern Iraq in 1991, received state support for years and was allowed to bring family members to Norway, only to travel back to Iraq to lead a guerrilla group in violation of the terms of his asylum. Since his return to Norway he’s been in and out of court for years, not least for lodging a death threat against Norway’s current prime minister, Erna Solberg.
He was ruled a threat to national security several years ago and Norwegian authorities have tried to deport him back to Northern Iraq. They’ve been unable, however, to ensure that he wouldn’t face a death sentence, and Norway won’t send people to countries where their lives may be in danger.
Krekar continues to face an extradition order to Italy, however, where authorities want to prosecute him for allegedly leading another terrorist group. Krekar is resisting the extradition and an Oslo court is due to evaluate whether he can be sent to Italy in June.
Meanwhile, his attorney Meling told TV2 that Krekar is now back living at home with his family and has resumed studying and teaching. “He’s back doing work that’s legal as he sees it,” Meling told TV2. “That’s what he’s been doing all along.”