Four members of a refugee family who were controversially deported during the weekend were on their way back to Norway Tuesday. The mother of the family was returned already on Sunday, for health reasons, and then Afghan authorities refused to accept her three children.
That came as a huge relief to their Norwegian supporters in Trondheim, where the Abbasi family has been living for the past seven years, and to the family’s two older siblings, now age 22 and 20, and their younger brother, age 16. The two youngest have never been in their parents’ native Afghanistan, while the oldest was born there but taken out of the war-torn country when his parents first fled 19 years ago.
The mother and three siblings arrived in Norway in 2012 and received residence permission on the grounds the father’s whereabouts were unknown. They lost their residence status when he showed up in 2014 but their case was appealed and deportation delayed as it went through the court system.
They lost, and authorities showed up at their home in the early morning hours of Saturday to carry out the deportation, which only went as far as to Istanbul. The mother’s poor health prompted her return to Norway, and after officials in Kabul refused on Monday to take in the three siblings, Norwegian police were arranging their return from Istanbul as well.
The case has renewed calls to soften Norway’s strict asylum and immigration law. Police and immigration officials contend they were simply following current law and denied doing anything wrong.