The Norwegian government is ready to pay out the first installment of what’s likely to be record compensation to Viggo Kristiansen, who spent more than 20 years in jail for crimes he never committed. Kristiansen will now receive NOK 10 million in cash and many more millions later.
“The payment process is underway,” Bjørn Andre Gulstad confirmed to news bureau NTB. Kristiansen himself, now 43 years old, has earlier told TV2 that “now life will begin, and it will be very nice.”
Kristiansen was wrongly convicted of the rapes and murders of two young girls at Baneheia in his hometown of Kristiansand in May 2000. He was sentenced to Norway’s longest prison term and wasn’t released until his constant calls for a reopening of the case were finally heard and ruled him innocent on the basis of new DNA testing. The state has since issued formal apologies for the travesty of justice, and promises of quick compensation.
He’s been living back in his childhood home since his release from prison in June 2021, but now stands to receive up to NOK 40 million or more to compensate him for everything from the career, income, returns on investments, family and home of which he was deprived. State officials say the initial payment is meant to help him buy a home, furnishings and live after so many years behind bars.