★ 1997 Drammen bombing
On June 4, 1997, a bomb exploded outside the Bandidos motorcycle club in Drammen, Norway, killing a passerby and injuring twenty-two others. Seven people linked to the rival Hells Angels motorcycle club have been convicted of committing the attack.
1. Background. (Фон)
The attack took place as part of the Scandinavian biker war, a war between the Bandidos and the Hells Angels for control of criminal gangs in Scandinavia and Finland, in which nine people were killed before the explosion. Last year, the Bandidos moved their headquarters from Oslo to Drammen. The bombing was ordered by Torkjell Alsaker, President of Hells Angels in Norway, and was carried out by members of the Screwdrivers motorcycle club, an affiliated gang that gained full membership of Hells Angels as a result of the attack.
2. Bombing. (Бомбардировка)
Thirty to fifty kilograms of explosives, made from a mixture of diesel fuel and synthetic fertilizers, and an improvised explosive device were placed in a 1981 Volkswagen Transporter by John Gerhard Berg, a member of the screwdriver motorcycle club. Berg later told police during a police interview that he received an assignment from Hells Angels President Torkjell Alsaker. The day before the attack, Berg had driven a van from Hamar to Drammen along a road where there were no surveillance cameras. On the night of June 4, 1997, Berg put on a black wig and other clothing that he could get rid of, and drove a van into the entrance of the Bandidos Drammen club, located at Konnerudgata 27, before setting fire to the bombs fuse. He then used a Bicycle that was attached to the van to escape from the scene. Kai Moneter Berg served as the getaway driver and drove him out of town. The explosives went off at 11: 44 PM.
The explosion was more powerful than planned, perhaps because too little gravel had been placed on the explosives. Shockwaves were felt 500-600 meters from the site of the explosion, severely damaging nearby buildings, including the Drammens Is plant. After the initial explosion, the clubhouse caught fire twice before the entire building collapsed in a major fire. Three people inside the building survived. Irene Astrid Beckevold, a fifty-one-year-old woman driving past the scene in her car, was killed in the explosion, and a total of twenty-two people were taken to the hospital. Among the wounded was the husband bekkevold, who was a passenger in her car. A full emergency alert was issued at Drammen hospital and disaster preparedness was established, the first time such measures were required in a hospital.
2.1. Bombing. Effects. (Эффекты)
The Prime Minister of Norway, thorbjørn Jagland and the Minister of justice of Gerd-Liv Valla was present at the blast site the next day. Jagland promised to propose a law prohibiting motorcycle gangs from setting up clubs in populated areas.
Irene Beckevold became the tenth person and the second innocent bystander to die as a result of the biker war. The resulting public backlash and growing attention to motorcycle gangs by law enforcement were among the factors that led to the end of the war, which officially ended when the Bandidos and Hells Angels reached a truce in September 1997.
3.1. Trial. District court. (Окружной суд)
The investigation into the bombing took four and a half years, and seven people associated with the Hells Angels were charged with the attack. In Drammen district court on 10 June 2002, John Gerhard Berg was sentenced to ten years in prison for arson and causing serious damage, and Torkjell Alsaker was acquitted. Two others, including Kai Moseter, were also found guilty of both arson, and the other was also found guilty of causing serious damage, and were sentenced to five and eight years in prison respectively. Maseter got the biggest discount on fine after the recognition and assistance in the investigation and clarification. Three others were acquitted of arson charges, but were each sentenced to three years in prison for causing serious damage. Although alsaker was acquitted, the court found it likely that He had ordered the explosion. Thus, he was brought to joint responsibility for material compensation, just like other convicts. The six convicted were ordered to pay the 120.000 kronor in compensation to the widow Irene Bekkevold. The Prosecutor asked for a sentence of seven to twelve years in prison, for Alsaker-sixteen years, and the total amount of damages was 290 million kronor.
All seven were jointly fined 13.6 million kronor in damages. This is equivalent to about five percent of the actual economic damage to the environment. Insurance companies and the police have already seized assets, property, boats and cars worth 5.5 million kronor, mostly in the name of Alsakers cohabitant.
Five of the six convicts appealed the case to the court of appeal. Moser accepted the verdict. The prosecution, in turn, filed an appeal against the acquittal of Alsaker, as well as the acquittal of three others accused of arson. The state Prosecutor also appealed against the issue of compensation for damages.
3.2. Trial. Court of appeal. (Апелляционный суд)
On 20 March 2003, the Borgarting court of Appeal acquitted all five men of arson charges. Alsaker was found guilty of complicity in the crime and sentenced to sixteen years in prison. The three who were sentenced to three years in prison in the district court received six years in the court of Appeal. The latter, who was sentenced to eight years for murder and causing grievous bodily harm, had his sentence increased to twelve years.
All five appealed to the appeals Committee of the Supreme court with a complaint about errors in the consideration of cases after one of the jurors was forced to resign because she had previously testified in the case of the arrest of one of the convicts. The appeal was unanimously rejected by the Supreme court.
The insurance company went to court to overturn the award of compensation from the district court, where they were sentenced to pay 13.5 million kronor. On 26 October 2004, the borgarting court of Appeal overturned the award for damages. There, seven convicts were sentenced to pay the entire compensation of 290 million kronor, including interest, for a total of about 450 million kronor. The court found it unlikely that these people would ever be able to settle the claim, and also considered the consequences it had for them, but found that this was not grounds for release.
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