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Isis-linked Norwegian woman denies charges in terror case

A woman on trial in Oslo has denied charges of supporting the Islamic State (Isis) terror group in Syria.

Isis-linked Norwegian woman denies charges in terror case
A file photo of the al-Hol camp in Syria. Photo: Delil SOULEIMAN/AFP

The 30-year-old woman’s trial is underway at the district court in Oslo. She answered “no” when the charges were read out to her on Monday, Norwegian media reported.

The trial, which is expected to take four weeks, has gained significant attention in Norway after the woman was returned to the country from the al-Hol refugee camp in northern Syria. The woman, who has two children, was arrested after arriving at Oslo Airport.

One of her children was seriously ill when the family of three was returned to Oslo.

Disagreement over the decision to bring the woman and children back to Norway on humanitarian grounds resulted in the breakup of the former coalition government in January 2020.

The anti-immigration Progress Party stepped down from Erna Solberg’s government at the time, having criticized the decision, arguing that that the risk of allowing a person linked to Isis into Norway outweighs the country’s humanitarian duty to help the child.

READ ALSO: Populist party quits Norwegian government over jihadi spouse repatriation

The woman was born in Pakistan, first arrived in Norway as a child and grew up in Oslo.

She left an Isis-controlled area of eastern Syria in March 2019 and was subsequently accommodated at al-Hol.

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BREAKING

Swedish prosecutors upgrade Almedalen knife attack to terror crime

Prosecutors in Sweden are now treating the murder at the Almedalen political festival as a terror crime, with the country's Säpo security police taking over the investigation.

Swedish prosecutors upgrade Almedalen knife attack to terror crime

In a press release issued on Monday evening, the Swedish Prosecution Authority, said that the 32-year-old attacker, Theodor Engström, was now suspected of the crime of “terrorism through murder”, and also “preparation for a terror crime through preparation for murder”. 

Engström stabbed the psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren last Wednesday as she was on her way to moderate a seminar at the Almedalen political festival on the island of Gotland. 

Although he was a former member of the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement, police said his motive seemed to be to protest against Sweden’s psychiatry services, who he felt had treated his own mental illness badly. 

The release gave no details as to why the 32-year-old was now being investigated for a more serious crime, but terror expert Magnus Ranstorp told the Expressen newspaper that the shift indicated that police had uncovered new evidence. 

READ ALSO: What do we now know about the Almedalen knife attack? 

“The new crime classification means that they’ve either found a political motive for the attack which meets the threshold for terrorism, and that might be a political motive for murdering Ing-Marie Wieselgren,” he said. “Or they might have discovered that he was scouting out a politician, or another target that could be considered political.” 

Engström’s defence lawyer said last week that his client, who he described as disturbed and incoherent, had spoken in police interrogations of having “a higher-up target”. 

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