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Norwegian Court Frees Iraqi Cleric Jailed For Inciting Killing

A Norwegian appeals court has freed a controversial Islamic cleric known as Mullah Krekar from imprisonment for making a nationally televised appeal for Muslims to kill a man.

Krekar's lawyer said the Iraqi-born cleric, whose given name is Najmaddin Faraj Ahmad, was released on March 17 by the Borgarting Court of Appeal, which gave no reason for its decision.

Krekar, 59, had been serving an 18-month sentence after being convicted by a lower court for saying in February 2015 that a Kurdish immigrant living in Norway deserved to die because he posted images of himself burning pages of the Koran.

Krekar, who came to Norway as a Kurdish refugee in 1991, told public broadcaster NRK at the time that he wanted "to send a gift" to whoever killed the man.

The threat came only days after Krekar was released from prison for making death threats in 2010 against three Kurdish men and Erna Solberg, a former opposition leader who has since become Norway's prime minister.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa