Norwegians convicted of murder in the Congo - look beaten up in custody

      Home » Current events and news » Norwegians convicted of murder in the Congo - look beaten up in custody

Norwegians convicted of murder in the Congo - look beaten up in custody

This picture shows that the prisoners seem to have had a hard time of it in custody, just look at their faces.

Two Norwegian men have been sentenced to death in the Democratic Republic of Congo after being convicted of murder. (It looks like a set up)

Joshua French, 27, and Tjostolv Moland, 28, were also accused of arms smuggling and espionage. They denied all charges.

They were held after their Congolese driver was found shot dead in May this year in the north-east of the country.

The two were ordered to pay $60m (36m) damages. There was reportedly applause when the sentence was handed down at a military tribunal in Kisangani city.

Authorities back in Oslo have denied French and Moland were involved in espionage for Norway, and have expressed concern they were not receiving a fair trial.
... Quote:
From a Norwegian position we clearly denounce death sentences against two Norwegian citizens and we also clearly denounce accusations that there has been espionage on behalf of Norway,
Jonas Gahr Stoere, Norway's foreign minister told the BBC's Europe Today programme.

French and Moland were reportedly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to set up their own security company. In May 2009, they were arrested in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve and charged in the killing of their hired driver, 47-year old Abedi Kasongo, which occurred on May 5, 2009. French was arrested on May 9 in the Epulu game reserve, around 200 kilometres from Kisangani.

Moland was arrested two days later in the Ituri Province, a few hundred kilometres further northeast. Under Congolese law, the men were tried in a military court because firearms had been used in the crime.

The military tribunal convened in Kisangani on August 14. Congolese authorities believe French and Moland shot and killed Abedi Kasongo on an isolated section of road between Kisangani and the Ugandan border.

On September 8, 2009, French and Moland were found guilty on all counts and sentenced to death. Along with the death sentence for both, the tribunal ordered the Norwegian government to pay a $1 (USD) compensation to each Congolese citizen, an amount Judge Claude Disimo said totals more than $60 million.

Norwegians-on-trial-for-murder.jpg - 42.23kb
By netchicken: posted on 9-9-2009

This is the crucial evidence, as the picture supposedly showing one of the men cleaning up the blood.

Some more details from the trial...

- Even though it's a public court and case, journalists have to pay 250 USD to gain access to the courtroom, TV and internet journalists have to pay 500 USD, they also had to pay 250 dollars to be allowed into the city where the court takes place..

- Two witnesses who were on the truck with French and Moland didn't have to be sworn in before giving their statements.. because the court decided to change their status to informants instead. So now, legally there are no witnesses.

- When they were arrested they had a lot of "hi-tech spy equipment" on them, yeah..
The so called hi-tech equipment was a GPS, a map and a compass. Supposedly the map and compass was somehow added to the Norwegians belongings while they were both in a military prison.

The Robert Wavara, who is in charge of the investigation, has claimed that this shotgun was the murder weapon:

But when he demonstrated how it worked in court, he said that it can only be loaded with one slug at a time, but the witnesses (or "informants" as they're called now) said that there were fired 5 shots in quick succession which Moland and French couldn't have done with the shotgun, also they didn't recognize the weapon.

- The wife of the deceased driver has yet to prove she's actually his wife.

- The coroner's report that has been shown in court had the wrong name on it.

- One of those demanding money from the Norwegians has in separate interrogations claimed to be the uncle of the deceased, then later the father.

- The court is claiming that the Norwegian Royal Guard is a special forces battalion, although in reality it consists mostly of conscripts.

- The Congolese claim that the fact that Moland and French's military ID's doesn't expire until 2016 and 2015 (I think it was) it means that they're still working for the armed froces. Even though both French and Moland has papers saying that they were allowed to keep their ID's even though they no longer are in the military.

- One of the lawyers today kept saying Belgium instead of Norway (Belgium colonized the Democratic Republic of the Congo).
By netchicken: posted on 9-9-2009

Background to the 'crime'

The Norwegians had been in Uganda for a while where they were trying to start a private security firm (SIG - Uganda) and I can't remember why they went to DROC. They were driving around on a couple of Yamaha dirt bikes and spent some nights in the bush there. I don't remember if they were on vacation or were trying to get some business connections. Anyway, their bikes broke down after a while.

They stayed in a hotel, and the receptionist helped them get in touch with a driver who could take them, and their bikes to a city where the bikes could be fixed. Two other men also hitched a ride. After about 2 hours of driving the Norwegians supposedly told the driver to stop, they went out in to the bush and came back 5-10 minutes later, shot the driver and supposedly tried to kill the two other passengers.

This is the version told by the Congolsese "informants" aka the two guys who also was on the truck. They say the Norwegians told the driver to stop because they had to take a piss. They came back about 5-10 mintues later. Then Moland pulled a gun on the driver and shot him once in the head. French then supposedly fought with one of the two informants, but he managed to get away. They also claim that the Norwegians shot at them, but that God made them miss.

The Norwegians then drove off in the Truck and was captured some days later.

The Norwegians side of the story is this:

They drove around in Congo on the dirt bikes, which later broke down. They stayed a couple of nights at a hotel and the hotel helped them get a driver. So they met the driver, negotiated a price (400 USD, 200 there and then and 200 more when they got to where they were going). Then the two informants came up to the driver and asked if they could hitch a ride.. in the end they got on the truck too.

After about an hour the truck stopped, because the two "informants" asked the driver if they could stretch their legs. Then they all got on again and drove for another hour before the two "informants" asked the driver to stop again.

Moland and French went to take a piss (it's in the evening so it's dark), when they came back they heard gunshots. Moland and French decided to run back down the road they'd driven. Because the bush was thick, and the light from the car would give away their position if they ran in front of it. They also heard movements on both sides of the road.

French was jumped by some guy who tried to hold him down, but he got up and ran away. After a while they decided to run back to the car and get the **** out of there. They noticed a body lying besides the truck, but didn't really bother stoping and checking it out, seeing as they thought there were robbers nearby because of the shots being fired.

After a while they stopped, and got out of the truck and though about what they should do now. They concluded with the fact that they couldn't trust the Congolese army, and that they had to avoid soldiers at all costs. They were convinced that everything would be used against them, if soldiers found out what had happened.

They're two white foreign guys in DROC, who is pretty well known for giving foreing, especially white people harsher punishments than their own. They decided to get in toch with the rangers of the Epulu-nationa park where they were hoping to borrow a phone so that they could call the Norwegian Ministry of Forreing Affairs.

They got back in the car and drowe towards Nia Nia and decided to set up camp for the night after passing Epulu Ranger Station. When they set up camp, Moland noticed that the driver's side of the truck was covered in blood. So he decided to try and wipe some of the blood from the seat. French then took this picture (which for obvious reasons has been used against them in court)

With the photo Moland says that he's not smiling because he's glad the driver is dead (which the Congolese tribunal is saying - they're basically saying that the whole thing was a plot to kill the driver.. the Conogolese aren't very consistent in their claims against the two). Moland is saying that he's just happy the two of them managed to get away unharmed and that they've just been through a very dramatic situation and that smiling is just a way to cope with the whole situation.

People do tend to react differently to situations, but taking that picture wasn't exactly an ingenious move on French's part, who's saying that it was a spontaneous picture.

After a few hours of sleep the two, got in the truck again and drove for a few kilometers to a village where they were hoping to get some water. There they saw a blue trailer which previously had driven past the two when they were about to set up camp. Men armed with machetes and guns jumped out of the trailer and ran towards them, they ran back into the truck and drove off. They drove back to their camp, packed there they packed some clothes and a GPS in their backpacks and ran away on foot.

They were on the run together for 3 days, until French was captured by the police. Moland was on the run for 3 more days, until he contacted the police and surrendered himself on May 12th.

More on the link ...
By netchicken: posted on 9-9-2009

Norwegians convicted of murder in the Congo - look beaten up in custody | [Login ]
Powered by XMB
Privacy Policy