A Norwegian “black metal” musician who was arrested in France in July on suspicion of planning an attack but released on lack of evidence has launched an online appeal for funds to sue the authorities for what he called his “brutal” arrest.
Kristian Vikernes – convicted of murdering a fellow musician in 1991 and known as “Varg” in Norway – was arrested with his French wife after she purchased four rifles, arousing the suspicion of police.
After several days of interrogation, prosecutors found no evidence that either Vikernes or his wife was plotting an attack and both were released. French authorities said Vikernes had neo-Nazi connections.
Vikernes describes himself as a pagan and nationalist. He is due to go to court in the weeks ahead on a charge of inciting racial hatred, the Paris prosecutor’s office said. “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,” Vikernes wrote in his online message. “The only problem is that we can not afford to sue them, and we see no other solution than to ask for help from you.”
Vikernes’ lawyer was not immediately available for comment.
Interior Minister Manuel Valls had described Vikernes as a “potential threat” who “might be preparing a large-scale terror attack.” He justified his arrest by the rifle purchase and the fact Vikernes had a copy of a manifesto by Norwegian far-right militant Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in 2011.
Breivik’s 1,500-page statement outlined his planned crusade against Muslims, whom he said were taking over Europe and could only be defeated through a violent civil war. Vikernes had discussed the manifesto on his website, and criticised Breivik for having killed more Norwegians than Muslims.
He ended his post by quoting the famous poem “First They Came,” attributed to German pastor Martin Niemöller, which describes the failure of citizens to act when the Nazis rounded up people on the basis of their politics or religion. “These days they come first for the Pagan nationalists,” he wrote. “But even if you are not a Pagan and/or a nationalist you might understand that you should speak up for those who are.”
Vikernes was sentenced to 21 years in prison in Norway in 1994 for killing a musician from the band Mayhem, also black metal, a genre of heavy metal. He was released on parole in 2009, and moved to France with his wife and three children.