UPDATED: Norway’s police intelligence agency PST announced on Friday that a 16-year-old foreign citizen was arrested in Oslo on Thursday. He’s charged with carrying out preparations for an act of terror and faced a custody hearing Friday afternoon, where he was ordered held for at least the next two weeks.
The hearing was held behind closed doors, and the head of PST (Politiets sikkerhetstjeneste) was careful about releasing many details.
“This is a person who is young, he’s 16 years old and comes from Syria,” PST chief Hans Sverre Sjøvold told Norwegian Broadasting (NRK).
He added that the teenager “has been carrying out activities over time that we believe are illegal.” Sjøvold wouldn’t elaborate on the nature of the “activities” involved. Nor would Sjøvold confirm a report in newspaper VG that the young terror suspect planned to carry out his alleged terror in Norway. “I can’t say anything about that,” he said. VG also reported that the teenager is a supporter of the brutal terror organization IS (Islamic State) and came to Norway to be reunited with family living here.
Court documents later showed that police had tied the defendant to “dangerous substances,” and believe it was “overwhelmingly probable” that they would be used to spread fear among the public. His closest family, however, will be allowed to communicate with him and visit him in prison.
He was arrested at the family’s home, which NRK reported is located in a quiet Oslo neighbourhood outside the downtown area. Family members told NRK they were surprised by his arrest and didn’t know why he’d been seized. Police also seized computer equipment at the home. Neighbours described the family as “very nice and friendly.”
A defense attorney already appointed for the 16-year-old, Andreas Berg Fevang, said his client denied the criminal charges against him and would demand he be released. “We believe that being jailed is unreasonable and out of porportion given his young age,” Fevang told NRK.
PST has most recently determined the terror threat in Norway to be “moderate,” currently ranking it at three on a scale from one to five. The agency is due to release its latest evaluation of the national terror threat early next week.