Bolivia, Morocco angry with Norway

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Bolivian officials are furious after a young Norwegian woman, armed with a newly issued Norwegian passport in a new name, fled drug charges and flew home to Norway over the weekend. Morocco’s ambassador to Norway, meanwhile, was also angry this week after two members of Norwegian special forces were cleared of any charges tied to their role in what Morocco calls a kidnapping.

While her parents flew a Norwegian flag outside their home in Lillesand, to celebrate her return, Bolivian prosecutors in the cocaine smuggling case were calling for her arrest and extradition back to Bolivia to face the cocaine smuggling charges against her.

Prosecutor Claudia Mancilla told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that she and her colleagues would “use all available resources” to get her back, and would contact Interpol to demand her re-arrest.

Mancilla has some support among Norwegian politicians, with one member of Parliament for the Progress Party telling NRK Tuesday that the 20-year-old Norwegian drug smuggling suspect “should have been arrested as soon as she re-entered Norway.”

Her father claims she “had no illusion” of a fair trial in Bolivia and that her family, which reportedly has lost NOK 200,000 in bail money they put up and spent large amounts on her defense, saw no other choice than an escape from Bolivia.

The Bolivian case, which involved Foreign Ministry assistance in obtaining the new passport, comes just weeks after Norwegian diplomatic and defense officials got caught in a bitter custody dispute in Morocco, which resulted in a Moroccan man’s children being spirited out of the country by his former Norwegian wife.

News bureau NTB reported that Morocco’s ambassador to Norway is also angry after two members of Norwegian special forces were cleared on Monday of any charges tied to their off-duty role in what Moroccan officials consider a kidnapping. Ambassador Yahdih Bouchaab told radio station P4 that it was “unfair” the Norwegian soldiers would go unpunished.

Defense Minister Grete Faremo has claimed that the rules governing Norwegian military personnel’s off-duty activity would be tightened. Navy officials indicated they would try to restrict off-duty activity that could “damage the military’s reputation and confidence of the community.”

Norwegian Foreign Ministry officials are currently caught up in three highly publicized cases tied to criminal cases involving Norwegians, and ironies abound. While they are resisting Bolivia’s call for extradition of the young drug smuggling suspect, they have been working hard to have a murder suspect in Yemen extradited to either the UK or Norway for trial. Yemen, however, has no extradition treaty with either country.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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