|18 August 2013 32) (aged
Tjostolv Moland (28 February 1981 – 18 August 2013) was a former Norwegian army officer and private security contractor or ex-mercenaryarrested in May 2009 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and convicted (together with Joshua French) of murdering their driver and espionage for Norway.
One day after he died, The Guardian said that his "death overshadowed even the upcoming elections in Norway's media."Furthermore, Reuters claimed that "The death penalty was later overturned by Congo's military high court" —without mentioning that the prisoners were sentenced to death at the next trial.
Moland was born and raised in Vegårshei, Aust-Agder county, Norway. He joined the army when he was nineteen, served in The King's Guard and later the Telemark Battalion, where he held the rank of second lieutenant before his resignation in 2007.During his tenure as an army officer, he befriended grenadier Joshua French, a fellow soldier in the Telemark Battalion. After leaving the military, they both worked in the private security industry for a Korean company as security guards in the Gulf of Aden.
In 2009, a manhunt ensued after Moland and French were suspected in the shooting of their driver, who was found dead in the car in which the three had been riding. The men claimed that their driver was murdered by gunmen who waylaid them, and that they escaped from them on foot. On 8 September 2009, a DRC military tribunal in Kisangani (the capital of Orientale Province) found them both guilty of all charges and sentenced them to death.The Democratic Republic of the Congo government insists that the defendants were active-duty Norwegian soldiers, contradicting Norway's insistence that they had no connection with its military since 2007. "The rulings drew immediate international protests amid claims of miscarriages of justice."
On 22 April 2010, the BBC reported that a court overturned the convictions of French and Moland because of flawed procedures at their military tribunal and ordered a new trial with different judges.
On 10 June 2010, the BBC reported that the new tribunal in Kisangani found them guilty of murder and espionage. They were again sentenced to death and the Norwegian State was ordered to pay $65m.
During their first trial, the men were incarcerated in Kisangani, where they also remained for the first year of their sentence.[ clarification needed ] In 2010, they were transferred to Kinshasa. ( Tvedestrandsposten has reported the name of the prison as Prison Militaire Ndolo. ) In 2011, their prison cell was searched by officials including major Jean-Blaise Bwamulunda, one of the prosecutors in the trial. US$2,000 in cash was found and confiscated.
In 2013, on his visit to the DRC, French president François Hollande suggested that prisoners French and Moland should be moved out of the situation of their six-man prison cell; five days later the two prisoners shared a cell of their own.(Britain's foreign ministry had contacted France's in advance, due to Joshua French being a British citizen in addition to being a Norwegian citizen. )
On 18 August 2013, at 4 a.m. local time,Moland was found dead by his cellmate, Joshua French. French, who slept with ear plugs, had noticed that Moland got out of bed, but when he did not return from the adjoining bathroom, he woke up and found his cellmate dead. The prison officials were notified four hours later, and began investigation. DRC's minister of communications, Lambert Mende Omalanga, said that "We're trying to determine whether it was suicide or homicide. It looks like suicide but we're not sure". His death was confirmed at a press conference by Norway's foreign minister Espen Barth Eide, who also reported that the cause of death was yet unknown. The Norwegian government dispatched a four-man criminal team the following day, to assist the investigation in Congo.
On 20 August, French stated in an interview with VG that Moland had been active and in good health up until his death, doing his daily exercises and jogging in the courtyard just a few hours earlier.Eight days later, on 28 August 2013, Congolese authorities and Norwegian pathologists concluded that Moland had committed suicide. In December 2013, French was charged with drugging and murdering Moland, accusations that led to statements of surprise by Norwegian authorities.
Morten Furuholmen, a former lawyer of the two prisoners, said "My opinion has been that there should have been more activity from the highest levels of politics, including meeting in Congo. Norway's foreign ministry has limited itself to short meetings during UN sessions in New York, together with one contact in Ethiopia. There haven't been any meetings in Congo as far as I know".
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told Dagbladet that the death "is deeply tragic".
On 20 August 2013 an Aftenposten editorial wrote that "...some are of the opinion that Norway ought to be able to pay itself out of the troubles. In our opinion such suggestions are overly simplistic. - One must also ask oneself what sort of example that would set for similar incidents in the future; and if Norwegian citizens' safety in critical situations are best cared for through generous ransom payments." Dagbladet's editorial said "...if Norwegian authorities had agreed to pay what was necessary to get Moland and French home to Norway, it would have endangered all Norwegians traveling to similar nations. Norwegian citizens visiting corrupt or lawless countries would have their market value increased. They could become commodities. Therefore such cases demand quiet diplomacy." An editorial in Tvedestrandsposten —the newspaper where Moland's family placed the death notice—called for an independent investigation of Norway's foreign ministry.
Jonas Gahr Støre, Norway's foreign minister at the time of Moland and French's arrest and conviction, said "... I understand, of course, that those that lost their son [assign] blame for that it was not possible to help them, and I am very saddened that we were not able to do that".
Morten Strøksnes, author of Et mord i Kongo["A murder in Congo"]—and journalist—said in a 20 August 2013 article in Bergens Tidende that when his death was made public, "Moland again became the main story in all Norwegian media. The foreign minister and the prime minister announced press conferences. A prisoner on death row in an African prison, and the nation's top leadership hastily announces and holds press conferences on a Sunday! - The foreign minister said that they could have done more. The prime minister said that they had worked hard. He sent a letter 'not too long ago'. But the letter was sent in March 2012." ... "Norway has erased [Norwegian kroner] 143 million of Congo's debt, and also funded the nation with another half billion for conservation of rainforest in Congo - without demanding anything in return. - It is easy to imagine how the Congolese have interpreted this: Either as an admission of guilt, or as a signal that Norwegian authorities did not wish that the prisoners should be transferred to their homeland."
On 20 August 2013 Aftenposten article quoted Ingrid Samset (a political scientist) on her opinion that a publicized suggestion of holding back development aid funds for "the war-torn nation" to pressure DR Congo is not advisable, but instead Norway ought to open an embassy in DR Congo and invest in other ways also—to show that DR Congo is a nation that Norway cares about, even after Moland's death.
Najmudin Vahid Faraj Ahmed, better known as Mullah Krekar, is an Iraqi Kurdish Sunni Islamic scholar and militant who was the founder and former leader of Islamist militant group Ansar al-Islam. He is currently serving a prison sentence in Italy, after having been extradited from Norway in 2020. He came to Norway as a refugee from Iraqi Kurdistan in 1991. His wife, Rukhosh Ahmad, and his four children have Norwegian citizenship, but not Krekar himself. He speaks Kurdish, Arabic, Persian, Norwegian and English.
Arne Treholt was a Norwegian-born, Russia-based convicted felon and KGB agent who was convicted of treason and espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union against Norway during the Cold War and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
The Telemark Bataljon is a mechanised infantry battalion of the Norwegian Army. It was established in 1993, and is a part of Brigade Nord and stationed at Rena, Hedmark. The battalion consists of five companies/squadrons.
Knut Storberget is a Norwegian lawyer and politician for the Labour Party. He is currently serving as the county governor of Innlandet since 2019. He previously served as Minister of Justice under Jens Stoltenberg from 2005 to 2011. He was also an MP for Hedmark from 2001 to 2017, and deputy MP for the same constituency from 1993 to 2001.
Anne Holt is a Norwegian author, lawyer and former Minister of Justice.
Fredrik Ludvig Fasting Torgersen was a Norwegian man who was convicted of murder in 1958 in a much-debated case, and released from prison in 1974.
Anders Anundsen is a Norwegian politician for the Progress Party who served as Minister of Justice from 2013 to 2016. He was also a member of the Norwegian parliament, representing Vestfold from 2005 to 2017.
Mazyar Keshvari is an Iranian-born Norwegian former politician for the Progress Party and a convicted felon who is serving two prison sentences for fraud and violent threats. He was elected as a substitute member of the Norwegian parliament for the city of Oslo in 2013, representing the right-wing and anti-immigration Progress Party, and attended parliamentary sessions from 2013 to 2018 as the substitute of the mandate holder Siv Jensen who has been on leave from parliament during her government service. As a politician he was known for taking a hard stance on immigration, calling for a complete ban on further immigration to Norway, a stop to the practice of accepting asylum seekers in Norway, and the deportation of immigrants convicted of crimes. In 2019 he was convicted of aggravated fraud for defrauding the Norwegian parliament and in 2020 he was sentenced to 11 months imprisonment. He left the Norwegian parliament following his indictment in 2018 and also left the Progress Party in October 2019. In 2019 he was also arrested and charged with making violent threats, and he was convicted and sentenced to an additional four months in prison in 2020.
Hadia Tajik is a Pakistani-Norwegian jurist, journalist and politician from the Labour Party. She served as Minister of Labour and Social Inclusion from 2021 to 2022. She previously served as Minister of Culture from 2012 to 2013. She was 29 years of age at the time and became the youngest minister to serve in the Norwegian government. She is the first Cabinet member that is a Muslim. Tajik has served as a Member of Parliament representing Rogaland since 2017, and Oslo from 2009 to 2017. She was also the party's deputy leader from 2015 until 2022.
The sentence of life imprisonment under Norwegian law is restricted to the military penal code. In the civilian penal code, a law passed in 2002 allows for an indeterminate penalty that could, in theory, result in life imprisonment. The first Norwegian prisoner ever sentenced to the 21 years' preventive detention was Viggo Kristiansen, who was convicted of murder and rape, but exonerated in 2022.
Joshua Olav Daniel Hodne French is a Norwegian-British man who was convicted of murder in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He worked as a security contractor with his friend Tjostolv Moland when they were arrested in May 2009, and he was later convicted of attempted murder, armed robbery, the formation of a criminal association and espionage for Norway, of which he and Moland were found guilty and sentenced to death. In 2014 he was also convicted of the murder of Moland. He was released in 2017 after serving 8 years of his sentence, and returned to Norway.
Democratic Republic of the Congo – Norway relations refer to the bilateral relations between Democratic Republic of the Congo and Norway. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is represented by a non-resident embassy in London. There are 1,930 DR Congolese people living in Norway. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs discourages people to travel to the northern and eastern parts of the Congo.
Kaja Bordevich Ballo was a Norwegian university student who took her own life in Nice, France, on March 28, 2008, shortly after taking an Oxford Capacity Analysis (OCA), a personality test administered by the Church of Scientology, earlier the same day. Family and friends state that Ballo was happy prior to taking the OCA, and that her mood dramatically shifted after receiving the results; she jumped from the fourth floor of her dorm room hours later. In addition to a suicide note, Ballo's family found the OCA among her belongings. French police investigated connections between Scientology and Ballo's death, and interviewed two leaders of the Church of Scientology in France; prosecutors stated in December 2008 that they were unable to establish a causative link.
Fjotolf Hansen, better known by his birth name Anders Behring Breivik, is a Norwegian far-right domestic terrorist. He is known primarily for committing the 2011 Norway attacks on 22 July 2011, in which he killed eight people by detonating a van bomb at Regjeringskvartalet in Oslo, and then killed 69 participants of a Workers' Youth League (AUF) summer camp, in a mass shooting on the island of Utøya.
The trial and conviction of Joshua French and Tjostolv Moland followed their arrest in May 2009, and their being charged with killing their hired driver, 47-year-old Abedi Kasongo, on May 5, 2009, at Bafwasende, Tshopo District, Orientale Province, Democratic Republic of Congo. French was arrested on May 9 in the Epulu game reserve, around 200 kilometres (120 mi) from Kisangani. Moland was arrested two days later in the Ituri Province, a few hundred kilometres farther northeast.
Sigrid Giskegjerde Schjetne was a Norwegian teenager who disappeared from the streets of suburban Oslo while walking in the early hours of Sunday, 5 August 2012.
Rune Øygard is a former Norwegian politician representing the Norwegian Labour Party, who served as mayor of Vågå from 1995 to 2012 when he was granted leave following his indictment for child sexual abuse in a much publicized case, the so-called Vågå case. On 17 December 2012, he was found guilty of child sexual abuse, including sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl, and sentenced to 4 years imprisonment. The same day, he resigned as mayor.
Events in the year 2013 in Norway.
Events in the year 2014 in Norway.
Mordene i Kongo, theatrically as Congo, is a 2018 Norwegian crime film directed by Marius Holst and co-produced by Christian Fredrik Martin and Asle Vatn with South African producer Marlow De Mardt. The film stars Aksel Hennie and Tobias Santelmann in lead roles whereas Ine F. Jansen, Dennis Storhøi, Tone Danielsen and Anthony Oseyemi made supportive roles.