Bootboys leaders on trial
Werner Holm and Terje Sjølie, two leaders of the violent nazi Bootboys group appeared in court on 5 March, charged with several offences, the most serious charge of which is an armed robbery at a bank in Halden in last October.
They are also face charges of car-theft and slashing the tyres of several police patrol vehicles in the town and are further accused of organising an illegal Rudolf Hess demonstration Askim in last August. Both men have pleaded guilty to the robbery, but argue that the charge should be reduced to the lesser one of simple robbery.
The trial was attended by a dozen nazis who seemed far more interested in what Sjølie and Holm have told the police than in the outcome of the case. According to Holm, it was he who proposed and planned the bank raid robbery.
The same night, he said, the would-be robbers left Oslo in a stolen car to travel to Halden. Holm told the court that they slept in the car and when they arrived at the bank he committed the robbery during which a customer was threatened at gunpoint.
Holm claimed that the weapon he had, a sawn-off shotgun, was not loaded but in the car there was an AG-3 assault-rifle which was set to semi-automatic mode with the clip inserted. No rounds were chambered. Holm denied any knowledge of how the weapons worked.
Sjølie drove the getaway-car across the border to Sweden to the town of Karlstad where they were quickly arrested by the Swedish police following a short chase and extradited to Norway immediately but his lawyer has suggested that his motive was purely financial because he had lost his job after the Hess march.
Sjølie is also charged under section 135a in the Norwegian penal code, the so-called "racism-paragraph"because of statements he made in a speech at the Hess demonstration. In court, he admitted to being a national socialist, adding that he could see nothing racist about the speech and that his intention was simply to honour Rudolf Hess.
When the judge asked him to define whom he had meant by"the Jews", he answered that he used the term "Jews" as a general term, not aimed just at Norwegian and Israeli Jews. He also admitted that his statements about immigrants daily raping, robbing and killing people were provocative.
Sjølie and Holm have also been charged with a series of lesser offences, including driving while under the influence of drink and driving motor vehicles with false licence plates. At the time of going to press, the trial was still in progress.
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