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NEO-NAZI

Neo-Nazi Vikernes is a ‘survivalist’, says lawyer

Norwegian neo-Nazi Kristian "Varg" Vikernes, who was arrested in France earlier this week by French anti-terror police had no intention of carrying out a major attack, his lawyer has claimed, describing the musician as a "survivalist" who was preparing for an emergency, rather than a "terrorist".

Neo-Nazi Vikernes is a 'survivalist', says lawyer
Kristian 'Varg' Vikernes, pictured in 1999. Camouflaged vehicles outside his home in Corr├Ęzes, central France, which was raided on Tuesday. Photos: AFP/Patrick Bernard

Kristian Vikernes, the Norwegian far-right metal musician arrested in France over fears of a "major terrorist act", is a "survivalist" who was actively preparing for an emergency, his lawyer said.

The 40-year-old, who once served 16 years in jail for stabbing to death a fellow musician, was arrested Tuesday in the central Correze region along with his wife Marie Cachet, 25.

Vikernes, who also goes by the name "Varg", Norwegian for "wolf", remained in custody on Thursday but Cachet was released a day earlier, a judicial source told AFP.

On Wednesday, Vikernes's lawyer Julien Freyssinet said that the Norwegian was far from preparing a terror act, describing him as a "survivalist".

Survivalism is a movement of people who actively prepare for emergencies — by for instance stockpiling food, water and medicine or building protective structures — and sometimes believe a social, political or natural catastrophe is imminent.

"We must put this case into perspective," Freyssinet told reporters.

He said weapons seized by officers at the couple's home had been acquired "completely legally and without hiding a thing, as part of a philosophy followed by the couple — that of survivalism."

The interior ministry said at the time of the arrest that Vikernes was "close to the neo-Nazi movement" and could have been preparing a "major terrorist act".

However Interior Minister Manuel Valls later conceded no specific target or project had been identified, but authorities had decided to "act before and not afterwards."

Officers seized five long-range weapons at the couple's home, including four 22 calibre Long Rifles.

They were also concerned about the antisemitic and xenophobic messages that Vikernes posted online.

Under French anti-terrorism laws, suspects can be held for up to 96 hours, which means Vikernes may remain in custody until Saturday morning.

The Norwegian is a notorious black metal musician in his country, known for the deadly stabbing as well as accusations of setting fire to one or more churches in the early 1990s.

Musicians and fans of black metal — an extreme sub-genre of heavy metal — often express anti-Christian views and were involved in the burning of more than 50 churches in Norway between 1992 and 1996.

After serving 16 of his 21 years in jail, Vikernes moved to France where he settled with Cachet and their three children.

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NEO-NAZI

Norwegian neo-Nazi set to sue France

Norwegian neo-Nazi Kristian 'Varg' Vikernes is planning to sue France for falsely arresting him in July on suspicion of planning "a major terrorist attack". He was realeased without charge after police found no evidence to back up their suspicions.

Norwegian neo-Nazi set to sue France
Kristian 'Varg' Vikernes, pictured in 1999 and Camouflaged vehicles outside his home in Corr├Ęzes, central France. He was released on Thursday. Photos: AFP/Patrick Bernar
"We want to sue the authorities for arresting us for no good reason whatsoever, doing so in the most brutal way possible and with children present," he wrote on his blog, Thulean Perspectives. 
 
In the post the 40-year-old called on his followers to contribute money to fund the action. 
 
"We cannot afford to sue them, and we see no other solution to this than to ask for help from you," he wrote, before providing prospective supporters with an email address with which to contact him for bank details. 
 

Vikernes, a heavy metal musician, was arrested together with his French wife Marie on July 16 on suspicion of planning "a major terrorist act" modelled on that of far-Right extremist Anders Breivik, after French police who had im under surveillance found out that his wife bought several hunting rifles.
 
The interior ministry said at the time of the arrest that Vikernes was "close to the neo-Nazi movement" and could have been preparing a "major terrorist act".

However Interior Minister Manuel Valls later conceded no specific target or project had been identified, but authorities had decided to "act before and not afterwards."

He was released two days after his arrest when the authorities could find no evidence to justify bringing charges against him. 
 
In the blog he complained that the authorities had yet to return either his firearms or his ceremonial weaponry, including "decorative swords, my helmet, two spears, my wife’s flint knives, and all sorts of other things too, most of them with great affection value". 
 
In May 1994, Vikernes was sentenced to 21 years in prison for murdering the guitarist of a rival band and setting fire to churches. He moved to France on his release in early 2009, where he settled with his wife and children. 
 
He complained in his blog that his wife Marie had a "crime record as white as snow" and so should be permitted to own firearms. 
 
"I have a record in Norway but I have never done anything criminal in France, and I can own weapons even in Norway if I want to," he added. 
 
On the day of his arrest, the media made much of Vikernes's connections to Breivik, who sent him a copy of his manifesto on the day he mounted his attacks in Oslo in 2011, but Vikernes, a pagan, has in the past been critical of Breivik's self-identificiation with Christianity and his support for Israel. 
 
Richard Orange ([email protected])
 
This story first appeared in the The Local Norway
 
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