Norway’s police intelligence unit PST (Politiets sikkerhetstjeneste) has arrested a man from Sudan and charged him with spying against refugees in Norway who fled from Sudan. It’s believed to be the first such arrest in Norway since the 1970s.
PST officials said the arrest was made at 7am Tuesday at the suspect’s home in Trondheim. He was being transported to Oslo for a custody hearing, according to Terje Lunde of PST in Trondheim.
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that the alleged spying wasn’t restricted to Trondheim. “The man is charged with spying against refugees in Norway, not just in Trondheim,” according to Lunde.
He wouldn’t reveal details or the scope of the alleged spying, not would police release more information about the man arrested. Lunde said the arrest was made after cooperation between PST investigators at national headquarters in Oslo and at PST’s regional operation in the county of Sør-Trøndelag.
“As far as we know, this is the first arrest made for spying on refugees in Norway since the 1970s,” said Martin Bernsen, information chief for PST. Such spying is defined as being aimed at undermining, neutralizing or eliminating political opposition by carrying out surveillance, controlling or in various ways threatening opponents in exile.
Several countries including Ethiopia and Eritrea have been accused of spying on their own citizens who have moved to Norway. PST officials told newspaper Vårt Land last spring that around 10 countries are believed to have carried out such spying in Norway.
It’s not easy to establish who is behind the alleged spying, but police reportedly receive around 20 complaints a year. PST officials have said the actual incidents of spying on refugees in Norway is probably much higher.
Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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The man from Sudan was reportedly arrested without drama and faced questioning later in the day.