Is the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) breaking Norwegian law?

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Is the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) breaking Norwegian law?

UDI fails to take a stand in the Mordechai Vanunu-case

In a May 8. letter to Norwegian PEN, the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) fails to make up its mind with regards to Norwegian PENs application for immigration on behalf of Israeli writer and nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu.  Vanunu was invited as Cities of Asylum writer in Kristiansand, Norway last winter. He also has a standing invitation to serve as honorary doctor at the University of Tromsø.

In the letter, the directorate states that «Vanunu does not have permission to leave Isarael» and that this is the reason why the directorate does not take a stand regarding the application.

Already in April 2005, the board of Norwegian PEN nominated Vanunu for the Cities of Asylum vacancy in Kristiansand.  Local authorities, including the City of Asylum administration, the City department of culture and the head of the Board of culture at the city administration, welcomed Vanunu to Kristiansand.

Mordechai Vanunu was jailed for 18 years for leaking information about the Israeli nuclear programme.  Since his release two years ago he has not been permitted to even speak with foreigners and he cannot move around freely.  Israeli authorities deny him his right to leave the country.

Norwegian PEN president, Kjell Olaf Jensen, made the following comment to the reply from the directorate:

«The argument of the directorate seems strange.  I presume that the directorate is aware of the fact that the right to leave your country is stated in paragraph 12.2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  Breaking this Covenant, which holds the power of law in Norway, means that the directorate is actually in conflict with Norwegian law.»

Oslo, 15. May 2006