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Norway court acquits first suspects tried under new anti-terror law

[JURIST] A Norwegian court Tuesday acquitted three suspects of terror charges laid for allegedly planning to attack the US and Israeli embassies in Oslo after finding that there was no binding and intentional agreement between them. The three had also been indicted [JURIST report] for their roles in a September 2006 shooting at an Oslo synagogue. Charges relating to the synagogue shooting were dropped against two of the suspects, but a third was convicted. The court ruled that the shooting was vandalism, not terrorism.

The trial was the first test of Norway's new anti-terrorism law. Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten quoted legal experts as suggesting that presiding Judge Kim Herger was consciously trying to establish strict standards of evidence [Aftenposten report] for prosecutions under the new law. US Ambassador to Norway Benson K. Whitney [official profile] is reported to have been "both surprised and dismayed" at the acquittal. The US criticized [JURIST report] Norway's new anti-terrorism law in 2007 for being too lenient, with Whitney expressing particular concern that it did not designate membership in a terrorist organization as an offense by itself. AP has more. The Norway Post has local coverage.

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