PST worried about terrorist recruitment in Norwegian prisons

PST chief Marie Benedicte BjørnlandOslo.PST chief Marie Benedicte Bjørnland.Photo: Terje Bendiksby / NTB scanpix

PST is concerned that Syrian fighters who have returned to Norway and are convicted may recruit terrorists while incarcerated in Norwegian prisons.

Some convicted foreign fighters are already serving time. It is very important to pay attention to this small group of people while they are incarcerated, so they won’t be able to radicalize others,  Head of PST Benedicte Bjørnland says to thenewspaper Aftenposten.

She answers affirmatively when asked if there is a risk that people who have fought in Syria and are convicted upon their return being imprisoned may radicalize others or become radicalized themselves while in prison. Bjørnland says the Correctional Service is aware of who the inmates of those serving time are – whether they are young, vulnerable men or other kinds of prisoners.
According  to PST approximately 90 Norwegian nationals have traveled to Syria to fight. Around 30 of them have come back to Norway, and just under ten of those currently are in custody or serving sentences.
The Correctional Agency is aware of the risk, according to Director Marianne Vollan. She added the problem is not extenstive in Norwegian prisons.
Several of those who carried out the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels were former burglars who had been radicalized by older inmates in prison.
– I can’t say that it comes as a surprise. I view it more as a confirmation of something we have feared,  Bjørnland says

Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today