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OSLO, Oct 22 — Prosecutors requested two years in prison today for the partner of Norway’s former justice minister who is accused of setting fire to her car and vandalising her home with the purpose of generating sympathy for the family.
In a bizarre case that has gripped the nation, Laila Anita Bertheussen, 55, was arrested in March 2019, triggering the resignation of then Justice Minister Tor Mikkel Wara of Norway’s law-and-order Progress Party.
She has pleaded not guilty to fabricating threats against democracy and her family.
Before the arrest, Bertheussen had said a theatre production in Oslo, which was critical of Wara, posed a threat by showing images of the family’s house.
When their home was later daubed with graffiti and her car burned, Bertheussen said her view was vindicated. But police believe she was responsible, using a flammable liquid to set fire to the car and briefly disconnecting a surveillance camera.
“Laila Anita Bertheussen should be sentenced to prison for two years,” said senior public prosecutor Frederik Ranke, wrapping up arguments in court.
Wara told the trial he believed his partner was innocent.
Adding to the mystery, anonymous letters claiming responsibility for the attacks were postmarked at times when Bertheussen was abroad or otherwise unable to have mailed them.
Police argued the letters could point to an accomplice, while the defence said it cast doubt on the case.
A threatening letter was also sent to then Minister of Public Security Ingvil Smines Tybring-Gjedde.
Judges are expected to rule within a few months. — Reuters
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