Mullah Krekar jailed for five years in Norway

Mullah Krekar (L) with one of his lawyers in a courtroom in Oslo Mullah Krekar came to Norway as a refugee in 1991

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Mullah Krekar, the Kurdish founder of radical Islamic group Ansar al-Islam, has been sentenced to five years in jail in Norway for making death threats against officials and others.

Mullah Krekar, 55, came to Norway as a refugee in 1991.

Krekar, who says he is no longer involved with Ansar al-Islam, said in court he would appeal the ruling.

Ansar al-Islam, which is based in northern Iraq, is regarded by the UN and US as a terrorist organisation.

Mullah Krekar was found guilty of threatening the life of Erna Solberg, an ex-minister who signed his expulsion order in 2003 because he was considered a threat to national security.

He was also found guilty of threatening three other Kurds living in Norway who had burnt pages of the Koran or insulted it in another way.

Mullah Krekar - born Najm Faraj Ahmad - has lived in suburban eastern Oslo with his family since 1991 when he was granted refugee status in Norway.

From this base, he founded Ansar al-Islam, which Washington blames for attacks on coalition forces in Iraq. In 2006, the UN added the cleric to a list of people believed to have links with al-Qaeda.

The Kurdish cleric says he stepped down as leader of Ansar al-Islam in 2002 and denies any links with al-Qaeda.

He remains in Norway despite the deportation order against him because of the security situation in Iraq.

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