'Neo-Nazi' musician Vikernes in French terror arrest

Kristian Vikernes Vikernes was convicted in 1994 of stabbing a man to death in Oslo and burning down several churches

Related Stories

A Norwegian musician with links to mass killer Anders Behring Breivik has been arrested in France on "suspicion he was preparing a major terrorist act".

The French interior ministry said Kristian "Varg" Vikernes constituted "a potential threat to society".

He was arrested in central France after his wife bought four rifles.

Vikernes, described by French officials as a neo-Nazi, had in the past received a copy of a manifesto from Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011.

Breivik planted a bomb in central Oslo and went on a shooting spree on the nearby island of Utoeya in July 2011. He was imprisoned for the maximum 21-year term last year.

An official at the Paris Prosecutor Office said Breivik sent a copy of a manifesto setting out his ideology to Vikernes, who is also a convicted murderer.

The official said: "There were several indications that made the services fear he could possibly carry out a violent act."

Legal permit

Kristian Vikernes was arrested along with his French wife in Correze, a region in central France.

Police sources said officers were searching their home for weapons and explosives.

Analysis

French police have very broad powers to detain suspects, and they have used them here. On their own admission, there is no evidence that Kristian Vikernes was formulating any kind of plan.

But intelligence officials obviously believe that given his background and his known beliefs, Vikernes is potentially a very dangerous individual. So after his wife bought the guns, they decided to take him in.

The dark world of black metal neo-Nazism is not one with many supporters in France. It is in Scandinavia where the crude mix of Norse mythology and racial obsession has more of a following.

Still, some of Vikernes's internet warnings against immigration and the European Union might have struck a wider chord in France - had anyone been reading - and in a recent pronouncement he expressed wholehearted support for National Front leader Marine Le Pen.

It was the kind of extremist endorsement which Ms Le Pen will certainly not have appreciated.

Officials say Vikernes' wife had a legal firearms permit when she bought the four rifles.

Vikernes, a black-metal musician and writer known as Varg, was convicted in 1994 of stabbing a man to death in Oslo and burning down several churches.

He was released in 2009 and moved to France with his wife and three children.

On his website, Vikernes discusses Breivik's manifesto, but also criticises him for killing innocent Norwegians.

Breivik's 1,500-page manifesto outlined his planned crusade against Muslims, who he said "were taking over Europe and could only be defeated through a violent civil war".

'Darkness'

Kristian Vikernes founded the one-man music project called Burzum in the early 1990s, which soon became a fixture of Norway's black metal scene.

The word "burzum" means "darkness" in the Black Speech, a fictional language crafted by JRR Tolkien.

"In 1991, 18-year-old guitarist Varg Vikernes founded one of Norwegian black metal's most important bands upon a simple, yet powerful, platform: to bring darkness into the world," the magazine Guitar World wrote in 2010 after interviewing him.

KRISTIAN 'VARG' VIKERNES

  • 1991: Founded one-man music project Burzum
  • 1992: Took part in the arson of several churches in Norway
  • 1993: Stabbed to death fellow guitarist Oeystein 'Euronymous' Aarseth
  • 1994: Sentenced to 21 years in prison
  • 2009: Released after serving almost 16 years
  • 2013: Arrested on "suspicion he was preparing a major terrorist act"

But he soon became involved in violent crime. In 1992, he took part in the arson of at least three churches in Norway.

The following year, he stabbed to death fellow Norwegian guitarist Oeystein "Euronymous" Aarseth, who played with him in the black metal band Mayhem.

Vikernes was given Norway's maximum 21-year sentence and released from prison in 2009 after serving 16 years.

Since then he has continued releasing music and writing.

Through his writings he promotes what he calls "Odalism", an ideology based on the idea that White Europeans should re-adopt "native European values".

It includes racism, anti-Semitism and elements of ethnic European paganism.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Europe stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • getawayDigital detox

    If you can’t shake your device addiction on your own, there’s a getaway for you

Programmes

  • Evan Blass (known as evLeaks on Twitter)Click

    One of the world's top technology leakers - Evan Blass - explains how he gathers his secrets

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.