The media reports that Randi Hagen Spydevold, a practising lawyer, is of the opinion that an Iranian woman is being held in Iran against her will by her relatives. The lawyer is reported to have told the media that she plans to smuggle the woman to Norway.
Does this sound serious? A lawyer planning to commit a crime? Will she be allowed to continue as a practising lawyer, if she commits the crime? Is she really willing to sacrifice her profession by smuggling a refugee to Norway?
Of course she knows if she commits the crime, she will end up in Jail. So the question to ask is why all the sacrifice?
UDI is of a different opinion. The Directorate says the woman’s story, claiming she is being held in Iran against her will, is not reliable.
Hagen Spydevold has actively engaged herself in Iranian Menije Ravandost’s case. She is even willing to sacrifice her profession to win the case. What is behind her enthusiastic approach is not known, but she seems determined to win over UDI at all costs!
The 23 year old woman came to Norway as a refugee some years back, but travelled on her own free will to Iran four years ago. Ravandost claims that she was tricked to travel back to Iran.
Now she is fighting hard to be allowed to return to Norway, but she says those who were involved in tricking her to travel to Iran are holding her back.
The problem now is that she has been out of Norway for over two years, and according to the immigration laws, her long stay out of the country disqualifies her from retaining residence permit in Norway.
The lawyer says she is dealing with a client in desperate need for help.
The lawyer’s argument is her own believe, that the Iranian woman might be killed in Iran by those who do not want her to leave her country, in order to return to Norway.
The lawyer says that if the woman is not killed, she may take her own life by committing suicide, because she is desperate to leave Iran.
Here it seems the lawyer is dramatising the whole situation. Why should the woman commit suicide, simply because she cannot get back to a foreign land – Norway?
Now the lawyer is threatening UDI by saying she will commit a crime, by smuggling the woman to Norway, even if it meant loosing her licence to practice law!
This threat cannot be taken seriously. Why should a lawyer threaten the whole Directorate of Immigration, so that her client gets to return to Norway?
And if she was to commit the crime she has said she will commit, and looses her practising licence, who will finally be the sufferer?
It is definitely wrong for her to use this method of threatening. Her client had the case in the Norwegian court and lost. The lawyer should appeal to a higher court, instead of using threats to win cases for clients.
According to the lawyer and her client, it was the woman’s male members of her family who managed to trick her to leave Norway.
It is reported that she claims the family members convinced her to believe that they were all going to Iraq for some few weeks on holiday.
But instead, she says, the trip ended up in Iran, where according to her, she was accused of prostitution by her uncle, and told she will never be allowed to return to Norway until her death.
The claim now is that the woman was send back to Iran from Iraq by family members, because she broke up with her husband.
According to information from the lawyer, it is reported that the woman has contacted the police, and the Norwegian embassy without getting the help she requires.
UDI, the Directorate of Immigration, says they consider claims of forced marriages to be a very serious thing.
But according to them, Ravandost’s case does not fall under that category. They have told the media that her case has been dealt with accordingly, receiving the necessary attention, and throughout that process her story has been found not to be a reliable one.
The departmental director Morten Hansen in the UDI, says they have looked into all the facts, and found that she was not a victim of forced marriage like she has claimed, especially because she chose to travel back to her country on her own free will over four years ago.
Hansen says Ravandost went to the Iranian embassy where she obtained a passport, adding that the statements she has given, time and again, dealing with this situation varies a great deal.
Ravandost has got many chances to tell her story. She was interviewed in Iran by the Norwegian embassy, where she was given reasonable amount of time to explain herself.
She was also given opportunity during her court case, to give the statement direct to the court by telephone when her case came up in Oslo magistrate’s court. The court was to decide whether she should be allowed to return to Norway, the UDI has told the media.
Ravandost lost her case in court!
According to Hansen, UDI has investigated the case thoroughly, and the conclusion is that she is not facing the problems as claimed.
Before she got married, and we believe it was on her own free will, she completed documents seeking for re-union with the man she indicated was her boyfriend.
According to Hansen, the man who she re-united with was her boyfriend and they got married willingly.
This seems to be the problem for UDI. They cannot now start to treat her case as forced marriage.
Why bring the man herself if it was a forced marriage? It does not make sense!
It now remains to be seen if the lawyer will go ahead and smuggle her client. It will be interesting also to see what the Norwegian government will do with the lawyer if she commits the crime.
First and foremost, it will be contempt of court to smuggle her client, when the case has been in the courts where her client lost the fight to return to Norway.
By Korir, African Press in Norway, APN: