Criminal Trial in Oslo, Norway

Petar Keseljevic is a Norwegian evangelist who is compelled to share his faith in public places, particularly in his home city of Oslo, Norway.  Larry Keffer is an American evangelist who is also compelled to share his faith.  He and Petar decided to share together in the public places of Oslo in May of this year during the Norwegian Independence Day Celebration.


Unfortunately for them, the people and ultimately the police of Oslo decided that the Gospel message was incompatible with a public political gathering.  So, to stop the speech the police arrested the two evangelists and charged them with failing to obey a police order. 


The police order was simple, you must stop speaking, take down your banner, and leave.  In other words, no free speech rights were permitted in Oslo during this celebration.    The police failed to tell them that failure to follow this order would result in arrest.  How do I know this is true?  Larry Keffer videoed the entire encounter so that you can hear everything that is said by the police.


The hearing was set for July 1, 2008 and I was able to participate as the attorney representing Larry Keffer.  I was able to help formulate the arguments for both Petar and Larry.  I was able to read Larry’s statement into the record in court in Oslo.  I was permitted to cross examine the witnesses in open court.  Finally, I was permitted to present a 30 minute closing argument during the trial.


The prosecutor told me after the hearing that she thought this was the first time in Norwegian history that an American had given arguments in the criminal court in Oslo.  I do not know if that is true, but it was certainly an honor to be able to represent two fine Christian men in court in Norway.


We find out on Monday, July 7, what the decision of the judges is.  I will keep you informed.


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