Norwegian man charged with murder of compatriot in Congo

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 10, 2013 4:13 PM
Norwegian man charged with murder of compatriot in Congo

KINSHASA/OSLO (Reuters) - A Norwegian man imprisoned in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 2009 has been charged with the murder of his cell mate and countryman, even though a joint investigation had found no evidence of foul play, Norwegian officials said on Tuesday.

Tjostolv Moland was found dead in August in the prison cell he shared with his former business partner, Joshua French.

The two men were convicted four years ago of murder and espionage and imprisoned after their driver was found dead in the jungle. The pair, both former servicemen who said they were setting up a local security business, had denied the charges.

"We do not understand the indictment, given that Norwegian police conducted a joint investigation and post mortem following Moland's death," Norwegian Foreign Ministry spokesman Svein Atle Michelsen said.

"Congolese and Norwegian police reached a joint conclusion that there was no indication of foul play or criminal activity."

Hanne Dokolo, Norway's honorary general consul in Congo, confirmed that French, who also has a British passport, was being charged with Moland's murder.

Congo's government had previously said that Moland's death appeared to be suicide.

Moland's lawyer said at the time of his death that he had been ill several times since his arrest, and was being treated for malaria and psychosis.

(Reporting by Pete Jones and Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Emma Farge and Kevin Liffey)