After months of quiet diplomacy, the Norwegian government has given up on efforts to send former terrorist-group leader Mullah Krekar back to his homeland.
Krekar, who has been under an expulsion order after being determined a threat to Norway's national security, initially came to Norway as a refugee from Iraq in the early 1990s.
It later emerged that he was the head of guerrilla group Ansar al-Islam and he repeatedly violated the terms of his asylum by travelling back to northern Iraq to lead guerrilla activities.
Krekar is the only person in Norway ever to have been sentenced to deportation because he is a danger to the country's security.
However, Norway has not been able to deport Krekar because he faces the death penalty in his homeland. Norway will not extradite anyone if they are under threat of execution when they are returned to their country of origin.
Labour and Inclusion Minister Bjarne Hanssen has been trying to negotiate a way to carry out the deportation order, which was upheld by a Supreme Court decision, but his diplomatic efforts have failed, reports Aftenposten.no.
After meeting with the EU's coordinator for anti-terrorist operations, Gilles de Kerchove, in Brussels during the last two days, Hanssen has concluded that the Norwegian government cannot come to an agreement with Iraq that will allow Krekar to be sent home safely.
This means Krekar will be allowed to stay in Norway indefinitely.
Mullah Krekar's lawyer, Harald Stabell, is satisfied with the outcome. "An agreement for deportation would not have held up in relation to international regulations on human rights," said Stabell to newspaper VG.
However, he notes that Krekar continues to be without rights in Norway and the deportation order remains in place.
Hanssen confirmed the decision to let Krekar stay, but said: "With the proviso that I assume the police will protect Norwegian citizens from a person that is regarded to be a danger to the country's security."
Source: Aftenposten (English)