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Monday, December 6, 2010

Norway convicts man of breaking Somalia embargo

A court convicted a Somali-born Norwegian on Monday of breaking a U.N. arms embargo of Somalia, but found him not guilty of funding terrorism.

The Oslo District Court said it was the first time anyone has been convicted of breaking the embargo, even though the U.N. has documented many violations by all parties in the conflict.

The court fined the defendant 10,000 kroner ($1,650) which he will not have to pay because he has been in custody for 109 days. The 40-year-old man could not be named because of Norway's privacy laws.

The defendant was found innocent of funding terrorism in Somalia by transferring 200,000 kroner ($33,000) to leaders of an al-Qaida-linked Somali group. The court said he collected the money in Norway and Sweden in 2007 and 2008, and sent it to al-Shabab militants in Somalia, but that he did not knowingly fund terrorist activities.

The court said the United Nations did not label the group a terrorist organization until April, even though it had been involved in some "deliberate attacks against civilians." Norway does not keep a list of terrorist groups.
The court said such attacks could be characterized as terror but that there was not sufficient proof that the defendant sent the fund for that purpose.

The prosecution said it will appeal the verdict.

The defendant was one of three Somali men arrested in Oslo in 2008 on suspicion of terror financing. They had collected money for the Somali resistance movement. The two others were released for lack of proof.


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