Afghan interpreter gets all-clear to return

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Faizullah Muradi reacts to the news that he may return to Norway. Photo: Morten Ekeland/NTB Scanpix
17:40 CEST+02:00
Norwegian authorities have agreed to allow the recently deported Afghan interpreter Faizullah Muradi to return to the country to have his asylum case heard.

“This is really good news,” Muradi told news agency NTB, speaking on the phone from Lecce in Italy shortly after the justice department cleared the move on Monday evening.

“I’m really pleased to hear about this decision. It’s hard for me to put in words what it means to me.”

Muradi, 22, who worked with Norwegian forces fighting in Afghanistan, was deported to Rome last Tuesday under the so-called Dublin regulations. 

A week on, the cogs are in motion to bring him back.

“I have just reached an agreement with the police foreign citizens’ unit to organize his return, enabling him to come back to Norway on Wednesday,” his lawyer told news agency NTB on Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s important to get moving on this as he only has permission to remain in Italy until Wednesday morning,” the lawyer added.

The case has upset many in Norway, who argue the country should be more generous to those who risk their life in its service. 

Justice minister Anders Anundsen (Progress Party) said however that Muradi’s return did not automatically mean he would be granted asylum.

“Asylum seekers will continue to be assessed in relation to whether there is a real need for protection,” he told broadcaster NRK.

Muradi earlier revealed that he had spent last Wednesday wandering homeless in Rome, unable to afford to buy food. 

"I have neither money nor a roof over my head. It has been a cold night," he told NRK. 

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His case took a more hopeful turn when the Prime Minister, Erna Solberg (Conservative Party), asked the justice minister to review the treatment of people who worked for Norway in combat situations.

"Norway is concerned that those who serve Norwegian forces abroad should be treated well," Solberg said announcing the review.

"I therefore ask the Minister of Justice to investigate the use of the Dublin Regulation in the treatment of asylum applications from people who have had employment with Norwegian forces in Afghanistan." 

"This means that you also need to consider whether the person who was recently deported should get his application processed in Norway," Solberg said.  

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