CB 1000

20 May 2015
The Baton Affair: “There was a certain practice”, Norway’s Director of Public Prosecutions
by Circus Bazaar
Circus Bazaar
Independent News and Analysis platform dedicated to bringing issues of Political & Social significance to public discourse worldwide.

On a quiet morning in the suburbs of Oslo, Norway, a man who was suspected of concealing narcotics in his mouth was subjected to a stop and search by Norwegian civil police. During the search, the police handcuffed and held down the man on a public street and used batons to force open his mouth. Using the police baton to dig inside his oral cavity, they performed a brutal forensic search for three minutes, in which no narcotics were ever found. A second patrol was then called and the individual was taken far beyond the city’s peripheral highway to an unknown location. The victim claims — to the denials of police — that he was “dumped in a forest, called an animal and left without shoes.“

Click here to view the original article and graphic film exclusively released by Circus Bazaar in 2013.

After a long and tedious investigation conducted by Norway’s Special Unit for Police Investigation it was decided that no criminal liability could be found in order to prosecute the officers involved. This was based on a investigation that concluded that the treatment of the individual was part of a practice that had existed in Norway’s largest Police District for (as one of the offers claimed) at least since “2005”. Instead the nations police watch dog decided to impose a publicly shaming 80,000 Norwegian Kroner fine and a charge of Gross Misconduct in the line of Duty on the Oslo Police District as an organisation.


At the time the ultimate decision to impose the penalty was to be made after the Oslo Police District was given the opportunity to respond to the conclusion that this was a practice. Oslo Police District denied the explosive claims,

“Oslo police are surprised that the Bureau has concluded that the described actions are practice in Oslo police, and therefore punishable for the enterprise. We believe that including this statement from the Bureau are not well enough documented and asking them therefore to investigate more.”

Although for very different reasons Oslo Police District were not the only ones in opposition with the decision. Defence Attorney Vibeke Knapstad who represents the victim of the treatment lodged a complaint regarding the decision “not” to prosecute the individual officers with Norway’s Director of Public Prosecutions. Her complaint alleged the officers committed both assault and serious dereliction of duty while also being in violation of European Human Rights Conventions. Specifically article 3 and 8, the absolute prohibition on torture, inhuman or degrading treatment and respect for privacy.

Today Norway’s Director of Public Prosecutions officers has released the conclusion of the complaint made against this investigation and upheld both the decision to not to prosecute while “somewhat explosively” supported the conclusion that the treatment was a practice. The press release states, “In deciding, the Director of Public Prosecutions emphasized that there was a certain practice in the police district to use the baton as a means to investigate the oral cavity and that at that time was unclear to what extent it was acceptable.”

Press Release below

[gview file=”https://circus.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/pressemelding-18052015.pdf”]


Vibeke Knapstad nevertheless disagrees with the decision. She told Circus Bazaar,

“We do not agree with the decision. It is strange that the Director of Public Prosecutions finds that the series of illegalities our client has suffered, overall, is not to be regarded as a serious dereliction of duty. The Director of Public Prosecutions does not find the expulsion of victims alleged to be carrying narcotics in the stomach to be considered serious. The Director of Public Prosecutions states in  connection to this that: … “one has in this assessment taken into account that the accused did not get driven far outside the city center”. … The fact is that the victim was expelled outside the ring 3 for 24 h. If he would had drugs in his stomach the expulsion could have had fatal consequences.”

The Director of Public Prosecutions office also agreed with the watch dogs assessment that the event was not racially motivated. This is despite statements on behalf of several experts on Norwegian Racism that question the relationship between the historically common practice of police banishing individuals from the city and relocating them in sometimes dangerous and isolated area’s. A practice well known among unwelcome migrants.

Circus Bazaar is currently involved in the full length production of the feature documentary project “The Serpent in Paradise” in which it attempts to put the history of these practices into the correct historical and political perspective. The above clip is quick cut form a small section of footage taken from a random African migrant that has been granted Asylum in Italy. He briefly describe his experience in Oslo, Norway.


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