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Now the Minister of Justice will visit Trandum. It's about time.


[28. April 2006] In the summer of 2002, Ny Tid reported for the first time on the treatment of asylum seekers at Trandum immigration boarding school at Gardermoen. Our journalist was the first to get in behind the barbed wire fences to look at the place where foreigners are waiting to be sent out of the country. We now know that some have been waiting for Trandum for over a year, under conditions intended for one-day stays.

At that time, the then municipal minister, Erna Solberg, confirmed that among other 412 children had so far been in custody on the spot. She felt that the boarding school is well-organized for families with children, indicated that it is permissible to imprison asylum seekers with unknown identities or who fear being evicted, and stated that no one should ever sit in Trandum for more than 14 days.

Since then, the Council of Europe's Torture Committee has visited Trandum and commented negatively on several occasions on a number of matters at the boarding school. In a report published in April, the committee is particularly hard on the so-called "security section", one of two departments at Trandum. Inmates are placed here in periods of different lengths and with different degrees of security. Often the explanation is absent and the reporting is lacking. If a detainee is perceived as wrong or in danger of taking his own life, he or she may be chained to the bed on the cell. Or throw on a smooth cell without water, toilet or daylight for up to four days. Some detainees may only leave the cell wearing handcuffs, strips and foot links. Inmates are awakened every half hour and their diet consists of one bag of dry food a day.

We have written about Trandum several times in recent years. In a series of articles in recent weeks, Ny Tid has once again put the spotlight on conditions at the boarding school. New aspects of internment are constantly being questioned. The Norwegian Police Association has responded that the employed transport attendants only have a four-week course at the Police Academy, before they are set to look after often mentally ill internees at Trandum. The last seven employees have not received this course either, and the Council of Europe's Torture Committee also questions what kind of training the employed guards at the immigration boarding school have received. The Torture Committee characterizes the lack of access to a nurse as unacceptable, and demands point by point that the Police must review their routines at the scene. The Bar Association's human rights group is also critical of the treatment Norway gives to people who have come to seek asylum. Common sense should be enough to understand that the conditions at Trandum are unacceptable.

On Wednesday, Civil Ombudsman Arne Fliflet came out strongly with a number of critical questions about the conditions at Trandum. Now he demands a response from the police. The Civil Ombudsman wants to know more about the use of force and coercion and why foreigners are checked around the clock. In addition, he will have an account of the legal basis used to keep foreigners imprisoned there.

We are writing shortly in the summer of 2006 before a Justice Minister finds it necessary to make the trip to Trandum. We are glad that Knut Storberget will look into the matter, but we cannot help but wonder about the time it has taken.

Why do we endure so well, the injustice that does not affect ourselves?

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