Trial Begins in Deadly Shooting at LGBTQ+ Festival in Norway

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The trial began Tuesday in Norway for a man accused of aggravated terrorism for the deadly shooting at an LGBTQ+ festival in Oslo’s nightlife district. 

Two people were killed and nine seriously wounded in the shooting at three locations, chiefly outside the London Pub, a popular gay bar, on June 25, 2022. 

Prosecutor Sturla Henriksbo said Zaniar Matapour, 44, allegedly fired 10 rounds with a machine gun and eight shots with a handgun into a crowd. Matapour, a Norwegian citizen originally from Iran, had sworn allegiance to the Islamic State group, Henriksbo said. 

Matapour was detained by bystanders. Following the attack, a Pride parade was canceled, with police saying they couldn’t guarantee security. 

Matapour has refused to speak to investigators. If found guilty, he faces 30 years in prison. 

In Oslo District Court, Matapour asked the judge why the trial was held during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Judge Eirik Aass replied, “I have not perceived that there is a conflict in carrying out the case even though it is Ramadan.” 

Henriksbo said that Matapour was born in Iran of parents of Kurdish background. The family fled to Norway when he was 12. 

The shooting shocked Norway, which has a relatively low crime rate but has experienced so-called lone wolf attacks in recent decades, including one of the worst mass shootings in Europe. In 2011, a right-wing extremist killed 69 people on the island of Utoya after setting off a bomb in Oslo that left eight dead. 

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