A “Refugees Welcome” campaigner has been arrested in Norway for trying to take away migrants scheduled to be deported.
“I have not done anything illegal,” Merete Eriksson told Norwegian news VG after she attempted to whisk away migrants who were in line for deportation from the migrant centre in Kirkenes, Finnmark the most northern part of Norway.
According to reports, Eriksson waited in the car park of the centre for migrants so she could take them away so that they may avoid deportation.
Eriksson was not the only participant in the incident. Merete Nordhus of Refugees Welcome to the Arctic was also arrested for attempted trafficking of a Christian Syrian family from the centre.
Nordhus recalled the events saying, “At first I had no thoughts about where we were going, but I thought that the church was the best. But I was stopped before we got that far by many police officers who blocked the road about seven kilometres from the camp.
“They asked where we were going, and I was a bit vague in my answers. They took the family with them, and it was horrible, the mother screaming and crying ‘no Russia, no Russia’.”
Kirkenes Police chief Hans Møllebakken told Norwegian press, ” We arrested three vehicles transporting migrants to (a local) church. They were arrested, interrogated and some released while others are about to be released.”
The Sør-Varanger Church was likely the place the cars were headed. The church has confirmed to the media that at least two migrants are in the church and that the church has no plans of releasing them to the authorities. A statement by the local parish council said that it does not wish to force any of the migrants in the church to leave.
The historical right of asylum or sanctuary has it’s origins in the church in Europe. It is currently unclear whether or not the church in Norway has any legal right to grant asylum independent of the Norwegian government in this case.
Attracted by the generous state benefits in Norway the migrants in Kirkenes came via Russia by foot or by bike after Hungary’s Prime minister Viktor Orban closed his country’s border. While there have been problems with Russia blocking deportees from entering the country the Russian embassy in Oslo has rejected migrant claims that it is not a safe country.
The deportations come after the Norwegian government initially offered migrants above the Arctic Circle, in places like Finnmark, a voluntary repatriation scheme where the government would pay for transportation to their home country along with over $9000 for each family to make a new start for themselves.
Breitbart London has reported previously of migrants who were scheduled to be deported to Russia absconding, but this is the first known instance of “Refugees Welcome” volunteers aiding them.
In Austria last year, volunteers where accused of picking up migrants in Hungary and bringing them to Austria in their cars. In November of last year Breitbart London reported of a Serbian human trafficker who a German court dropped charges on saying he was working in the interests of the German state’s policies of mass migration.
While the traffickers in Norway have either been released or will soon be released it is unknown if they will face any criminal charges for their actions.