Man convicted for Oslo Pride shooting sentenced to 30 years in prison

Zaniar Matapour, 45, was sentenced to at least 30 years in prison after killing two people at Oslo's 2022 Pride festival.

Photo of a pile of rainbow flags and flowers, a tribute to the two lives lost as a result of the shooting at Olso Pride in 2022.
Image: Instagram

The gunman who opened fire on crowds during Oslo’s 2022 Pride festival, shooting and killing two people as well as injuring nine others, has been served the maximum sentence of 30 years behind bars, with possible extensions. 

Zaniar Matapour, 45, was originally arrested on June 25, 2022, after he open fired on two bars located in central Oslo, one of which being a notorious gay club, the London Pub, just hours before the city’s Pride Parade was set to kick off. 

Matapour was found guilty of committing an “aggravated act of terror,” and in its verdict, the court wrote that the gunman’s attack “undoubtedly targeted gay people.”

“The goal was both to kill as many gay people as possible and to instil fear in LGBTQ people more broadly,” the court similarly reported in its verdict. 

In addition to his 30-year prison sentence, the gunman is facing fines of more than 100 million kroner (€8.8 million) in damages to those affected by the shooting. 

Although two years have passed since the tragic shooting, Matapour, who was restrained by passersby on the day of the attack, has yet to reveal his motives, nor has he pled guilty to any of the charges he was convicted of on Thursday, July 4. 

While court-appointed psychiatric experts debated Matapour’s mental health, particularly given the fact that the accused had been previously diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, the official court decision claimed that “Matapour fully understood what he was doing before and during the attack.”

The court reached this decision regardless of Matapour’s lawyer, Marius Dietrichson, pushing for his client to be declared criminally irresponsible. Dietrichson similarly tried to have Matapour acquitted, claiming that his client was provoked to carry out the attack by a Danish intelligence agent who was masquerading as a high-ranking member of the Islamic State (IS). 

The supposed “mastermind” of the attack, Arfan Bhatti, 46, was extradited by Pakistan on May 3, 2022, prior to Matapour’s shooting. While Bhatti has been referred to as an alleged “accomplice to an aggravated act of terror,” he has denied any involvement with the shooting and has similarly opposed his extradition. 

Norwegian courts plan to try Bhatti for his alleged involvement in the shooting at Oslo Pride at a later date. 

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