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Norway suspect pleads not guilty in country's first terror financing trial

A Somalia native pleaded not guilty [Aftenposten report, in Norwegian] Tuesday in an Oslo District Court [official website, in Norwegian] at Norway's first trial under its 2002 terror financing law. The unidentified Somali-born Norwegian citizen has been accused [AP report] of sending at least USD $33,000 to senior commanders of the al-Shabaab [CFR backgrounder] rebel movement between August 2007 and February 2008. According to Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, the indictment states the accused was in contact with the organization and was informed about its actions, which include plans to overthrow the Somali government. The defense counsel for the accused maintains that his client only intended to send money to the Islamic Courts Union and that he did not understand the group had ties to al-Shabaab. The Islamist al-Shabaab movement has been linked to al Qaeda [JURIST news archive] in the past.

Prosecutors in Norway have yet to win a conviction under Norway's anti-terrorism laws [JURIST news archive], which were passed in response to the 9/11 attacks [JURIST news archive] on the US. In 2008, a Norwegian court acquitted three suspects [JURIST report] accused of planning to attack the US and Israeli embassies in Oslo in the first trial under the anti-terrorism law. Norway's anti-terrorism laws have been criticized [JURIST report] by the US in the past for being too lenient.

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