Refugee espionage and surveillance have been discussed for many years, and it is still a major topic among diaspora groups in Norway. Many feel monitored, and one of them is Muetter Iliqud, who lives and studies at the University of Bergen.
Iliqud came to Norway with her family in 2011. After seeking political asylum in Norway, she was granted protection. Today she has lost all contact with her family in China.
She has since started working for the Norwegian Uighur Committee, an association that fights for the independence of the Uighurs in Xinjiang, China. She wanted to write articles about China’s treatment of Uighurs in the country.
– I thought it was absolutely safe to live in Norway, until I started to be politically active, she says.
Facts about the Uighurs
• When China occupied Eastern Turkistan in 1949, they changed the name of the region to Xinjang. The area is China’s largest region, and covers an area four times as large as Norway.
• The Uighurs come from Xinjiang province in northwest China.
Uighurs belong to a Muslim minority of Turkish descent.
• Chinese authorities are accused of extensive repression of the Uighurs.
She knew that being an activist could put family members at risk, and she did not want to. As a result, she wrote her articles anonymously, and last year they were published on the committee’s website.
– The articles I wrote were a lot about China’s brutal treatment of Uighurs and other ethnic groups, she says.
A few months later, she learned that her 85-year-old grandmother, who lives in China, had been warned by police there.
The police came again
“A Chinese security policeman who had a printed version of my article with him visited my grandmother in China, and they warned her about me,” she says.
After a few days, the Chinese police came to the grandmother’s house again. This time she was forced to provide Iliqud’s contact information.
“Since we have not had contact with family members in China, she had no information to give to the police, but these warnings simply mean that my grandmother may be imprisoned because of the job I do in Norway,” she says.
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Muetter Iliqud, who is also responsible for communications in the Norwegian Uighur Committee, says she was worried about her grandmother and felt guilty after the incident.
– The worst thing is that I could not call her and ask how it went, and I do not see that there will be such an opportunity in the future either, she says.
She then sent an email to PST about the incident, but she has not received a response.
– Among the Uighurs, there are several who experience similar harassment, and I think that the Norwegian police do not work enough to prevent espionage, she says.
PST has not answered TV 2’s questions.
Muetter Ilquid is not the only one experiencing this. A new report from Proba social analysis shows that various immigrant groups, both Eritreans, Uighurs, Ethiopians, Turks, Chechens, are exposed to pressure and control in Norway, probably from authorities in their country of origin.
An important finding in the report is also that trust in Norwegian social institutions is weakened, because immigrant groups in Norway do not feel that the Norwegian police provide sufficient protection to them.
SV’s parliamentary representative Petter Eide has raised the issue through a written question. Eide sent the question to Minister of Justice and Emergency Management Monica Mæland.
– What will the Minister of Justice do to map this problem, as well as give these groups adequate protection, Eide asked in the written question.
Challenging to distinguish between
Monica Mæland’s reply states that she is familiar with the report that the Ministry of Education commissioned from Proba, and continues:
– Such pressure can have major consequences for those affected, and is a problem that the government takes seriously.
It is also stated in the answer that in Norway it is the Police Security Service (PST) that is responsible for preventing and investigating refugee espionage.
– It can be challenging to distinguish between what is legal influence, and what is illegal pressure or control, the Minister Monica Mæland answers.
In addition, it is emphasized that it is very demanding for the police and PST to prevent and investigate this type of case, if the person exercising pressure and control is outside Norway.
– Some diaspora environments may be closed, and relevant information does not always flow to the Norwegian authorities. As a result of this, there can be large numbers in the dark in relation to the occurrence of refugee pioneering and other forms of pressure and control against diaspora groups, Mæland answers.
The journalist behind the article, Aysun Yazıcı, is a journalist from Turkey who lives in exile in Norway. She is affiliated with TV 2’s foreign department.
*The article has been translated based on the content of Source link by https://www.tv2.no/a/11733818/
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