by Samson Seifu, 2nd November 2012
Arrest of a Sudanese Refugee Spy: a defining historic moment
The Police Security Service (PSS) locally known as PST has arrested a Sudanese man accusing him of refugee espionage in
Ethiopian Refugee in Norway anti government rally
Norway. PST said the man, on several occasions, secretly collected information about Sudanese in Norway, and sent the information to the authorities in Sudan. Among his own countrymen, he has been considered to be a refugee, but PST believes he has always spied on them.
A number of Ethiopians in Trondheim, Norway have also claimed to have been approached and spied by the accused spy according to adressavisen.no.
According to PST this is the first arrest for refugee espionage in Norway since the 1970s. and the man is charged under Norwegian Penal Code 91a.
PST’s definition of refugee espionage in Norway
PST’s definition of refugee espionage is a foreign intelligence activities directed against foreigners in Norway. The aim of this type of activity is to undermine, neutralize or eliminate political opposition through monitoring, controlling, and threatening dissidents in exile in different ways. Several countries are spying on their own citizens who traveled to Norway, and among others Eritrea and Ethiopia are in the police spotlight.
The Ethiopian Refugee Espionage in Norway: Both systematic and comprehensive
Rune Berglund Steen is a communications officer at the Anti-Racist Center in Norway and author of the book ‘’ The Black Book of Norwegian Asylum Policy’’. Rune Berglund Steen has also worked on the Ethiopian spying in Norway issue for many years.
According to Rune Steen, representatives of the Ethiopian dictatorship run a systematic monitoring of Ethiopian refugees in Norway. At least 50 Ethiopians in Norway have experienced direct threats from the so-called refugee spies since 2005, according to Steen.
Based on the information he has collected since 2004/2005, it appears that the Ethiopian refugee espionage is both systematic and comprehensive. It is simply shameless and extensive, says Berglund Steen to Nrk.no (Norwegian National Media). He says the spies must be punished, this has been going fairly overtly long and that regime loyal Ethiopians allow themselves this because it has not been linked with consequences for them here in Norway. This must change, says Steen. Activities such as this must simply get consequences. It must be shown that one can’t with impunity behave like a dictator’s thugs on Norwegian soil. It should be a basis for several criminal cases against them here in Norway, says Berglund Steen.
It is also understood that some who have been granted stay permit based on false information, are regime loyal who have cheated to be opposition, and that when they get stay permit continue their works for the regime. If this is the case, it is an obvious ground for withdrawing their stay permits, he adds.
To what threats are Ethiopian refugees and dissidents in Norway exposed to?
Threats can be about what will happen when they return to Ethiopia, or it may be directed toward family members in Ethiopia, including death threats, says Steen. The spies, according to Steen, are active with taking pictures of peoples taking part in demonstrations and threatening of oppositions on the street, via e-mail and anonymous phones. There are also attempts at infiltration of opposition groups and parties. Dissidents have told Rune Steen that they suspect hacking. In several cases, it has also lead to street fighting, for example, when the opposition was trying to stop taking of photographs of demonstrations.
Former guerrilla soldiers
According to Berglund Steen, the Ethiopian dictatorship maintains power through systematic persecution of dissidents in Ethiopia and this systematic persecution is also set in the system beyond Ethiopia’s borders. Several documents which have been leaked from Ethiopian embassies show this, says Steen.
Several of those who have central position in monitoring in Norway have background as guerrilla soldiers at the time the current Ethiopian regime was still a guerrilla movement.
This is all about ensuring that the ethnic group that controls the country to retain power. Since this group – Tigreans constitute only about 6 percent of the population, and this is only possible through systematic oppression. Control in Ethiopia is extensive, where the regime has generally very good control. The regime seems concerned, therefore, is what kind of resistance that may emerge, he concludes.
Woyanne -TPLF informants in Norway cry foul: my conclusive perspective
TPLF’s cyber propaganda Medias like ‘’aigaforum.com’’, ‘’abesha.no’’ and ‘’Tigray tegaru paltalk rom’’ were crying foul attempting to divert the current important and promising issue which the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) is taking seriously.
The renowned Ethiopian refugee cases expert Mr. Rune Berglund Steen has excellently elaborated the issue. On the contrary the Woyanne-TPLF informants called the commentaries by Mr. Steen ‘’a recipe for genocide’’ in their discussion forum as well as in their articles posted on aigaforum.com and abesha.no websites. In fact, Mr. Steen’s mention of the ‘’Tigrean People’’ in his commentaries is to make clear to the Norwegian public and authorities that the Tigrean people which the liberation movement TPLF claims to have liberated and assumed power constitute only 6% of the Ethiopian people.
One may not be surprised given their background as the informants of the TPLF regime if they try to turn and twist the genuine claim by hundreds of Ethiopian refugees in Norway by trying to link it as they claim with ‘’genocide incitement’’. They know to the bottom of their hearts that the issue at hand actually refers to them and that is why they cry foul.