Norway: Suspect in the Pride Month attack will not speak to the police

OSLO, Norway (AP) – The suspect in a mass shooting during an LGBTQ festival in Norway has refused to explain his actions to investigators and will remain in custody for the next four weeks, police and his defense attorney said Sunday.

The man, who the authorities described as a 42-year-old Norwegian citizen originally from Iran, was arrested shortly after the shooting in Oslo’s nightlife district early Saturday. He is in custody on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and terror.

Two people were killed and more than 20 were injured in what the Norwegian security service called an “Islamist terrorist act”.

The Oslo police said that they tried to interrogate the suspect on Saturday and again on Sunday without success. Norwegian media identified him as Zaniar Matapour.

Matapour’s defense attorney, John Christian Elden, told The Associated Press by email that his client refused to have his statement recorded and videotaped unless police released the entire footage to the public “without delay, so that it will not be censored or manipulated.” .

Recording of interrogations is a common police practice.

Elden said earlier that his client did not deny that he was the shooter, but that he had not revealed any motive. The lawyer said on Sunday that Matapour did not protest against remaining in custody for four weeks, so he would not appear in court on Monday.

In Norway, custody meetings are normally held every four weeks.

The Norwegian Prime Minister and members of the royal family joined the mourners during a memorial service on Sunday in Oslo Cathedral for the victims of the attack.

The gunman opened fire in three places, including outside the London Pub, a popular gay bar in Oslo. Police investigators said it was too early to say whether the attacker was specifically targeting the LGBTQ community.

A Pride parade scheduled for Saturday was canceled due to the shooting.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said during Sunday’s memorial service that “the shooting in the night hours put an end to the Pride parade, but it did not stop the fight and the efforts to fight discrimination, prejudice and hatred”.

He also addressed Norway’s Muslim community.

“I know how many of you felt when it turned out that the perpetrator belonged to the Islamic community. Many of you experienced fear and anxiety. You should know this: We stand together, we are one community and we are responsible for the community together, Stoere said during the service, where Crown Princess Mette-Marit also participated.

Norwegian media said that Matapour arrived in Norway with his family from a Kurdish part of Iran in the 1990s.

He previously had a criminal record that included a drug crime and a gun offense for carrying a knife. Investigators said they seized two weapons after Saturday’s shooting: a handgun and an automatic weapon.

The Norwegian Homeland Security Agency, known by its Norwegian acronym PST, said on Saturday that it first became acquainted with the suspect in 2015 and later became concerned that he had been radicalized and was part of an unspecified Islamist network.

On Sunday, Norwegian media reported that Matapour had been in close contact with an Islamic extremist living in Norway that Norwegian police had been familiar with for a long time.


Tanner reported from Helsinki.