The man was detained at Oslo airport Friday evening by the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) on suspicion of illegal intelligence-gathering during a seminar at the Norwegian Parliament.
The seminar, taking place on Thursday and Friday, was arranged by the European Centre for Parliamentary Research and Documentation (ECPRD) and had 79 participants from 34 countries, the newspaper Dagbladet (in Norwegian) reports. The participants were administrative employees from different European Parliaments.
Dagbladet has been in contact with several of the participants at the conference who thought the man’s behavior during the seminar was suspicious.
The man is detained for two weeks while further investigation is initiated.
Illegal intelligence-gathering activity targeting state secrets can, according to Norway’s penal code section 121, give a penalty of three years in prison.
Neither the Norwegian Parliament, nor the Police Security Service will detail the man’s activities in the parliament prior to the arrest.
Doesn’t understand reasons of arrest
The newspaper VG (in Norwegian) has interviewed the Russian man’s lawyer, Hege Kristine Aakre, who says electronic equipment is seized. She says the man doesn’t understand the reasons for being arrested.
The Russian Embassy in Oslo wrote in a Facebook update on Sunday that it views the arrest as far-fetched and absurd. The Embassy provides consular assistance to the arrested Russian citizen.
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: NATO wants to keep the Arctic an area of low tensions, Radio Canada International
Finland: Should Russian dual citizens be barred from Finnish military’s upper ranks?, YLE News
Norway: How vulnerable is Norway to hybrid warfare?, The Independent Barents Observer
Russia: Russia charges former Norwegian border inspector with espionage, The Independent Barents Observer
United States: New symposium brings U.S. military’s attention to the Arctic, Alaska Public Media