Court clears the way for Mustafa to stay

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Mustafa Hasan, who has spent most of his life in Norway, won a new chance on Thursday to finally be allowed to remain permanently. The Oslo County Court ruled against the state immigration commission UNE, claiming it had not properly evaluated Hasan’s longstanding ties to Norway, nor the demanding situation he’d face if he were to be deported to Jordan.

Mustafa Hasan attracted national attention for his efforts to remain in Norway, like here on an NRK talk show earlier this year. Now immigration authorities have been ordered by the Oslo County Court to reconsider their deportation order to Jordan. PHOTO: NRK screen grab

The young man known mostly as “Mustafa” was six years old when he was brought to Norway in 2008 by his mother along with two elder brothers and a younger brother. She sought refuge as a Palestinian born in Nablus, but state immigration agency UDI later determined she’d come from Jordan and therefore had no right to asylum in Norway. They ignored how she’d been forcibly married to an allegedly abusive Palestinian husband in Jordan, from whom the family was fleeing.

She and the two elder brothers eventually left Norway, leaving Mustafa and his younger brother Abdelrahman behind. The latter was granted permanent residency in Norway on humanitarian grounds, but when Mustafa turned 18, he was ordered to leave.

Supporters in his home community in Asker, west of Oslo, rallied to prevent the deportation, claiming he’d been unfairly treated by both UDI and UNE, the commission that initially handles appeals of UDI rejections. His attorney argued that Mustafa deserved the same humanitarian evaluation as his younger brother, and demanded that his case be reviewed.

The case eventually became nationally known and went to court last spring, where state officials argued there are thousands of other cases in which people seeking asylum as stateless Palestinians actually have a form of Jordanian citizenship. According to Norwegian regulations, that disqualifies them from asylum, also for their children when they come of age.

The state argued that Mustafa’s mother lied about her status, while others claim she submitted her correct birthplace, information about her parents and merely withheld her Jordanian connection that emerged when she’d been sent there to marry a cousin who allegedly turned abusive.

Children like Mustafa often get caught in the conflict, growing up in Norway and having few if any connections in Jordan yet being forcibly sent there to start a new life. Now, based on the Oslo court’s ruling, he’ll be able to have his individual situation evaluated once again, this time on humanitarian grounds. Most believe UNE will now be forced to consider how difficult it would be for him to leave Norway after spending most of his life in the country.

“We are so happy,” Julia Lysgaar Shirazi of the support group formed for Mustafa, told state broadcaster NRK after the court’s decision was released on Thursday. “We finally have a ruling that’s fair for Mustafa.” His attorney had also argued that the two Hasan brothers had been evaluated differently in an unfair manner.

Asker Mayor Lene Conradi was also pleased, claiming that it was “a great relief” that his case will now be evaluated independently. She can’t see any reason why Mustafa would not be granted permanent residency in Norway, where’s he’s lived and been educated for the past 13 years. Several other Norwegian politicians have also engaged themselves in Mustafa’s case.

Mustafa himself was overcome with joy by the court verdict. “Finally, I’m so glad,” he told NRK, noting that he’s been living with great uncertainty and sleepless nights. “It’s wonderful to know that we’re finally going in the right direction.”

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund