Congo court upholds Norwegians' death sentences

AP News
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Posted: Dec 03, 2009 12:04 PM

A Congolese court has upheld death sentences for two Norwegians convicted of espionage and murder, U.N. radio said Thursday, prompting condemnation from Norwegian officials.

Radio Okapi said a military court in Kisangani announced the decision on Thursday. Norwegian media identified the two as Tjostolv Moland and Joshua French.

The two men, both former Norwegian soldiers, were convicted in May of murdering their driver and attempting to murder a witness. The alleged motive behind the killing is unknown.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere condemned the decision. Norway does not have the death penalty.

"I object strongly to these new sentences in Kisangani," he said. "Norway is against the death penalty in principle, and I will contact the Democratic Republic of Congo's foreign minister as soon as possible to relay this message."

The court also convicted them of spying for Norway because they were carrying military ID cards at the time. The Norwegian government has denied that the men were Norwegian spies.

"Norway is not a party in this case," Stoere said.