‘No regrets’ over Amelie’s deportation

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Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg says he has no regrets over the controversial deportation of Maria Amelie to Moscow on Monday. She now faces a lot of paperwork to satisfy both Russian and Norwegian authorities before possibly being allowed to return to Norway.

Newspaper Dagsavisen reported that it may take months before Amelie, now presumably using her real name of Madina Salamova, can hope to be clear for a return to the country where she spent her teenage years and gained an education. Her expected application to obtain work permission in Norway will not receive any priority, according to the Justice Ministry.

“Maria Amelie must accept the immigration agency’s ordinary processing time,” Pål Lønseth, state secretary in the Justice Ministry, told Dagsavisen. “She won’t be allowed to jump the queue.” Lønseth said the current processing time is around 10 weeks.

Must secure documents
Before it begins, Amelie must obtain permanent documents that allow for both domestic and international travel in Russia. Upon landing at the Sjeremetjevo airport in Moscow Monday evening, she was issued the equivalent of a temporary domestic passport that allows her to travel within Russia and stay at Russian hotels.

Within 10 days, she must obtain a permanent version of the document, but newspaper Aftenposten reported she can do that in Moscow, without needing to travel to her place of birth in North Ossetia. Her family fled North Ossetia a decade ago, and Amelie has made it clear she is afraid to return there.

After receiving the permanent domestic ID documents she can apply for a passport that would allow travel outside Russia. That’s expected to take a month and then she can apply for working and residence permission back in Norway at the Norwegian Embassy in Moscow.

Stoltenberg: ‘No regrets’
Questions remain over how Amelie managed to live nearly seven years, and obtain a master’s degree from the prestigious Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, after her family’s application for asylum in Norway was rejected in 2004. Her parents reportedly continue to live illegally in Norway, and hadn’t been deported as of Tuesday like their daughter was.

Stoltenberg, who has faced political pressure and widespread public demonstrations calling for her and others like her to be allowed to stay in Norway, told TV2 he has no regrets after Amelie’s deportation was carried out on Monday.

“I would have had a much worse feeling if we conducted policies that allowed (media) attention to determine whether people gain legal residence in Norway,” Stoltenberg said. The prime minister continues to point out that Amelie was not granted legal residence and therefore broke the rules by continuing to stay. A court decision regarding her residence status was also issued after she turned 18 and became an adult.

“We believe that everyone must follow the law, and that those who don’t have legal residence should leave voluntarily,” Stoltenberg said. “If not, you must be prepared for forced deportation.”

It wasn’t immediately clear where Amelie and her boyfriend would be staying in Russia, after they left the airport in a taxi. Their flight landed at another airport than the one hit by a terrorist bombing on Monday, which left many dead and injured.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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