Norway's first terrorism trial opened today. The three suspects are Arfan Qadeer Bhatti (30), Andreas Bog Kristiansen (28) and Ibrahim Øzbabacan. Bhatti, the main suspect, is Norwegian-Pakistani. Born in Norway, he is married and has two children.
When he was 13 he became the youngest member of the Young Guns gang. For 15 years Oslo police suspected he was one of the underworld's influential and dangerous men, but could not get their hands on him. Bhatti was respected in the Oslo underworld and nobody dared say anything against him. In the past few years he 'freelanced' in crime, but the police were never able to find enough evidence against him.
In an interview in Dagbladet in August 26, 2002, Bhatti expressed Islamist points of view, and got the PST, the Norwegian security service, interested. In the interview he said his thoughts are with his Muslim brothers who fight the Hindus, Jews, and Americans who oppress his people. He also said he lives for Islam and has a lot of sympathy for his Muslim brothers.
He also spoke about homos, saying that in Norway are in the best position, even getting to adopt children. Pedophiles and rapists are protected in the prisons, and this is called a society of Christian values. How can that be called values, he asked?
Dagbladet has gotten confirmation that this interview had set off the alarm clock for the PST.
For a long time he also lived in Pakistan, his parent's homeland.
In June 2006 Arfan Qadeer Bhatti traveled to Germany to meet "wise men" so he could learn how he could contribute to the war for Palestine. When he was stopped by the police in Lübeck for a routine check he had trouble explaining the rocket pictures in his car. The germans suspected he was planning an attack during the World Cup and this led officials to start an investigation against him.
Today in court he spoke of his trip, saying he was shocked by what was going on in the Middle East - the injustice, oppression and death. He wanted to do something, but had to meet somebody before he could decide what he was going to do. At that point in time he was very uncertain of what he would do. He thought of contributing through help organizations, or going to war against Israel from the Palestinian side.
In his car he had pictures of rockets and notes about them he had made a few days earlier, in a hotel in London. In addition he had a picture of a little Palestinian kid who had been killed.
The police released Bhatti after a few days. He never met the men for fear of being followed. He continued on through Budapest till Kosovo, where he visited an old friend, Princ Dobroshi. Dobroshi had been described in the past as Norway's most dangerous man.
Once he got back home, Bhatti considered going to the Middle East. He spoke with a journalist girlfriend of his about his thoughts regarding contributing to the war against Israel. [the reporter was later forced to go on leave, but kept her job]
Bhatti had bought tickets but canceled the trip. He says if his life would have ended in the Middle East he wouldn't have achieved any big goal. He couldn't have continued to do good deeds for Palestine or for his family.
A little over a month after he went to Germany, around August 8, 2006, he spoke with a co-suspect. As police taped the conversation, Bhatti aired his frustrations. He spoke of carrying out an attack against the Israeli or American embassy, or against the Jewish synagogue.
In court today Bhatti said that he spoke for half an hour. He says that he's accused of planning an attack but that he spoke about school, family, and his thoughts on politics. It was a conversation in a private room and was never meant to be heard by others. He has no idea idea what terrorism the court is speaking of.
However, according to the PST and prosecution, Bhatti did more than just air frustrations. He was observed staking out the synagogue. He also got himself a good pair of binoculars.
On September 19, 2006, the days shots were fired at the synagogue, Vhatti was in Torshov park. The prosecution think he was taking a trip before the attack.
Source: Nettavisen, Dagbladet (Norwegian). More on the trial in
See also: Norway: Terror or crime, Norway: Terrorism, Norway: Arrests in synagogue shooting, Norway: Terror suspect suspected of planning Jew's murder, Scandinavian terror stories