The trial of a Norwegian metal musician accused of inciting racial hatred was Thursday postponed to June, as his lawyer said he was not given enough time to prepare a defence.
Black metal musician Kristian Vikernes was arrested in July in France's central Correze region on suspicion of plotting terrorist attacks but was released after 48 hours due to lack of evidence.
He was however charged with inciting racial hatred and defending war crimes on his blog. Police allegedly found racist and anti-Semite material in his computer as well.Vikernes' lawyer Julien Freyssinet told the Paris court Thursday he had only received all 912 documents related to the case on Monday. The court then adjourned the trial to June 3 next year.
Sporting a grey beard and wearing a sweatshirt adorned with a wolf head, Vikernes told the court he did not know why he was accused, speaking through an interpreter.
On his way out of the court, he raised his fist in the air and was applauded by a number of supporters.
The charges of “inciting racial hatred” and “glorifying war crimes” relate to blog posts which, according to prosecutors, were “anti-Semitic and xenophobic," as well as data retrieved from his computer, which had been confiscated by police.
If convicted, Vikernes could face a maximum five-year prison sentence and a €45,000 fine, according to France's Metro news website.
'We must act before and not after a terrorist attack'
Vikernes, whose nickname is “Varg” (wolf) made headlines across Europe in July when he was arrested on suspicion of plotting “a major terrorist attack” on French soil.
Authorities, who had been keeping him under surveillance, became alarmed when his wife purchased a number of rifles.
Vikernes was kept in custody for 48 hours while French police questioned him and his wife Marie Chachet as to why she, a licensed gun holder, had bought five weapons.
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 when the authorities could find no evidence to justify bringing charges against him.
Vikernes has himself vowed to sue French authorities for arresting him "for no good reason whatsoever, doing so in the most brutal way possible, with children present”.
He appealed for help on his blog for supporters to make financial donations to help pay for the legal fees.
In his blog, he complained that the authorities had not yet returned either his firearms or his ceremonial weaponry, including "decorative swords, [a] helmet, two spears, [his] wife’s flint knives, and all sorts of other things too, most of them with great affection value".
Since moving to France in 2009, Vikernes has written extensively about the purported demise of European culture, attributing the decline to immigrant communities and supposed Jewish conspiracies.
In a blog entry published shortly before his arrest in July, he blamed a fatal train crash near Paris the previous day on “non-European scum” and made claims that “immigrant youths” had thrown stones at emergency services personnel, while robbing from victims of the crash.
He then claimed the fact that, up until that point, no media outlet in France had reported any incident of this type on a Jewish conspiracy between the French government and media.
In concluding, an angry Vikernes wrote: “I am so angry, and I have been the whole day, and I just don’t understand why Europe doesn’t revolt against this… It must stop; we must take actions to end this. Before it is too late.”
The neo-Nazi's links to Breivik are unclear other than the fact it is believed Breivik sent him a 1,500-page "manifesto" entitled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, that was attributed to the terrorist and contained details of the preparation for his attacks.
However, in a post on his blog, Vikernes heavily criticised Breivik for killing innocent Norwegians.
In May 1994, Vikernes was sentenced to 21 years in prison for murdering the guitarist of a rival metal band and setting fire to churches in Norway.
He moved to France upon his release in early 2009, where he settled with his wife and children.