A Russian teenager who set off a major bombscare in downtown Oslo last spring was sentenced to prison for nine months on Monday. The local city court didn’t believe his version of why he was found in Oslo’s congested Grønland district with a home-made explosive device on a Saturday night in April, just a day after a terrorist attack in Stockholm.
The 17-year-old’s defense attorney claimed his client was on his way to a forested area north of the city to test the bomb he’d made with lighter gas and splinters. Much of his trial took place behind closed doors earlier this autumn, but he reportedly testified that he’d found information about how to make the bomb on YouTube. Police said it had limited damage potential
“He’s disappointed over the court’s evaluation around the question of guilt, but he’s also satisfied that the court handed him a sentence that’s considerably lower than what prosecutors wanted,” defense attorney Javeed Shah told state broadcaster NRK. The state prosecutors had sought a sentence of at least two years in jail after his trial that began in October concluded.
The defendant had initially been charged under Norway’s anti-terror law but his indictment later was softened to possession of explosive material. It remained unclear whether he’d appeal the sentence. Norwegian prosecutors and the police intelligence unit PST may appeal as well, on the grounds the sentence is too lenient.
PST had contended that the teenager, who lived with his family in Northern Norway until he moved to Oslo to attend high school, was in the midst of a radicalization process. It could show that the boy had found his way to several websites advocating jihad (holy war).
“He didn’t get two years because the court evaluated how dangerous his bomb would have been to society,” prosecutor Marit Bakkevig told NRK. “We have a difference view on the matter.”