Friday, September 30, 2005

Norway can expel mullah Krekar

Aftenposten:

Controversial mullah Krekar suffered a legal setback when an appeals court ruled Thursday that the decision to expel him as a threat to national security could not be overturned, but the former Ansar al-Islam leader is still not likely to leave Norway soon.

Krekar's legal counsel Brynjar Meling has advised taking appeals all the way to the Supreme Court, to test the ramifications of the case to the limit.

Krekar's battle to avoid expulsion has now gone on for three years, and Meling said his client was tired.

"But I hope that he is ready for a new round in court. The way I see it he has no choice. Traveling back is impossible," Meling said.

Meling argued that the latest ruling does not provide a basis for contending that Krekar is a threat to national security.

"What the court has said is that they cannot rehear the established ruling and they must rely on the assessment made by the Minister of Local Government and Regional Development (Erna Solberg)," Meling told TV 2 Nettavisen. The court felt unable to test the background of the expulsion since it did not have access to necessary, confidential, documents.

Solberg and government attorney Tolle Stabell argue that Krekar can be expelled while his case is appealed given that conditions in Iraq are acceptable, though he cannot be sent to a country where he may face torture or inhuman treatment.

The court also did not rule on whether Krekar, who was granted asylum in Norway in 1992, could be expelled on the grounds of his violations of the Immigration Act - the latest decision only means that the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development is cleared of improperly ordering his expulsion.

Solberg said she was pleased with the ruling but that guarantees were needed that Krekar would not risk a death sentence or ill treatment if he was returned to Iraq.

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