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Alleged shooter who killed two at Oslo Pride stands trial

Zaniar Matapour Oslo Pride shooting trial
Lise Åserud/NTB/AFP

Zanier Matapour is accused of killing two and injuring dozens in the 2022 mass shooting.

The man accused of killing two people and injuring 29 others during Oslo Pride month in 2022 pleaded not guilty to the charges on Tuesday.

Zanier Matapour, 44, is facing murder, attempted murder, and terrorism charges for the shootings that took place on June 25, 2022, the night before the city’s Pride parade.

Prosecutors say Matapour fired 19 rounds from two weapons during the shooting. They say he targeted LGBTQ+ people and locations, killing a 60-year-old man at the London Pub and a 54-year-old man at the Per på hjørnet bar during the shooting spree.

He was tackled and subdued at the scene by bystanders until he was taken into custody by police.

Matapour has refused to cooperate with authorities since his arrest, and continued his combative behavior in court on Tuesday, according to NRK coverage of the trial. He is considered an active threat to others in the courtroom. He has been denied using a ballpoint pen during the trial because it could be used as a weapon, and he must instead use the less-threatening ink-filled insert, according to the European Conservative.

When asked to enter a plea, Matapour instead demanded to know why the court was in session during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The judge brushed off Matapour’s objections and continued with the proceedings.

The jury heard testimony that Matapour, a naturalized Norwegian citizen who emigrated from Iran as a child, has a history of drugs, violence, and mental health issues. His rap sheet included multiple weapons and narcotics charges, and prosecutors say he came to the attention of authorities in 2015 for the radicalization of his beliefs.

Matapour was interviewed by police a month before the shootings, but they determined he was not a threat to the community.

The shooting shocked Norway. Fearing further terrorist attacks targeting the LGBTQ+ community, the Pride parade scheduled for the day after the shooting was canceled.

“Oslo Pride has received clear advice and a recommendation from the police that the parade, Pride Park, and any other event in relation to Oslo Pride be canceled, “Inger Kristin Haugsevje, leader of Oslo Pride, and Inge Alexander Gjestvang, leader of the Norwegian Organisation for Sexual and Gender Diversity, said in a joint statement on Facebook at the time, adding, “We will follow the police’s recommendation and take care of each other.”

The trial is scheduled to continue into May.

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