News (World)

He shot up a gay bar during a festival. Now he’s going away for a long time.

Courtroom concept. Blind justice, mallet of the judge. Gray stone background. Place for typography.
Photo: Shutterstock

Last week, a Norwegian man was found guilty of terrorism for his horrific 2022 shooting of an Oslo gay bar during a festival. His attack killed two people and injured 21. The shooter, Zaniar Matapour, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

A victim of the attack who was hit in the forehead with a bullet, Espen Evjenth, told Norwegian news outlet NTB that the trial’s outcome was “a great relief.”

Matapour was found guilty during a two-month long trial. He was sentenced to the highest possible penalty in Norway, a 30-year sentence.

After 20 years, he’ll be able to request parole, but he’ll only be released if he is no longer found to be a danger to those around him.

Matapour shot 10 rounds with a machine gun and eight rounds with a handgun into the crowd. The Oslo District Court in Zaniar said he had sworn allegiance to the Islamic state, and had been “radicalized for several years.” He had ties to Arfan Bhatti, a radical known for his anti-gay views in an extremist interpretation of Islam.

The trial was held during Ramadan, a prominent religious period for Muslim individuals where they fast for an extended period of time. Matapour had brought this up to the judge as a potential conflict for the trial, however, this issue was dismissed.

The verdict was sent out electronically, and Matapour will hear the trial’s verdict in prison.

The shooting led to the cancellation of fuure Pride events out of a concern for security.

Both the prosecution and defense teams agreed during the trial that Matapour had committed the crime. However, the defendants pleaded that Norway’s external intelligence agency, E-Tjenesten, played a role in facilitating the attacks because an alleged member of the agency had posed as a member of the Islamic State before the attack.

An undercover operative had learned six days before the shooting that an attack was planned in a Nordic country, although there were no other specifics given.

The court responded by saying, “It is clear that the actions of the E-Tjenesten did not involve any illegal provocation” and “did not provoke an act of terrorism that would not otherwise have been committed.”

Four other individuals are suspected of complicity in the attacks, however there are currently no additional charges.

Prosecutor Aud Kinsarvik Gravås said to the Associated Press the case’s end was “the right outcome” and “a historically severe punishment.” Marius Dietrichson, Matapour’s defense attorney, said the trial’s outcome was “a severe punishment” and that no decision was made on whether they should appeal.

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