Norway wants to confiscate foreign fighters’ passports

Norway wants to confiscate foreign fighters’ passports
Justice Minister Anders Anundsen said Norway's current laws are too lenient. Photo: NTB Scanpix
Justice Minister Anders Anundsen has proposed allowing authorities to confiscate or refuse to issue passports to people who are seen as potential foreign fighters.
Anundsen’s proposal has been sent to hearing, the ministry said. 
“It is important to have effective tools for preventing people from travelling to conflict areas, both to prohibit the very serious crimes that are committed in these areas and because people who return can post a serious threat to Norway and Norwegian interests,” Anundsen said. 
The proposal only deals with the confiscation of passports and not the revocation of citizenship. 
Under Norway’s current rules, passport confiscation can only occur if there is probable evidence that the purpose of one’s trip abroad is illegal activity. Under the proposal, it would be enough to have an “objective assumption” that the person has such intentions.  
In previewing the move last month, Anundsen said that the current laws are too lenient. 
“It can be difficult to prove what foreign fighters have been doing in conflicts such as those in Iraq and Syria. This proposal will forbid all forms of non-state military activity,” the minister said.
Similar measures implemented by the Danish government earlier in 2015 have so far resulted in 14 charges and seven travel bans in Norway’s southern neighbour, including a controversial case in which a Danish Kurd who had fought for the Kurdish Peshmerga militia against Isis had her passport confiscated. She is currently challenging the decision in court.