[JURIST] The US ambassador to Norway has told Norwegian Justice Minister Knut Storberget [official profile] that the circulated draft of Norway's new anti-terrorism law is too lenient, Oslo newspaper Aftenposten reported Sunday. Ambassador Benson K. Whitney [official profile] expressed particular concern about the fact that membership of a terrorist organization was not by itself an offense; as it stands, the draft imposes criminal penalties only if a person is concretely connected to the planning of a terrorist attack. Storberget said in the wake of the letter that he had no object to the US government expressing its opinion, but that Norway would make its own decisions.
Earlier this year the annual US State Department report on anti-terrorism efforts worldwide [text] criticized Norway for poor police work in terrorism-related investigations [Aftenposten report], noting that
In October 2005, Norway passed an antiterrorism law that gave the police greater leeway to investigate and prosecute terror suspects. The September 2006 arrest of four individuals suspected of shooting an Oslo synagogue and planning attacks on the U.S. and Israeli embassies was the first test of this law. Some of the new investigative tools were used in the case. However, the prosecution of the case highlighted concerns that the law's definition of a conspiracy to commit a terror act was restrictive and could limit its usefulness. Reported miscommunication among various police offices and mishandling of information and suspects illustrated the need for improvement.Aftenposten