Subscription 790/year or 190/quarter

Settlement hour

Norway demands nine million kroner after embassy promotion. The counterclaim from an Egyptian party is two billion.


[replacement settlement] The caricature drawings of Prophet Muhammad were first published in the Danish Jutland Post and then in the Norwegian Christian newspaper Magazinet in February this year. As a result, the embassies in Syria and Iran and other property belonging to the two Nordic countries were regularly attacked.

After four months of diplomacy and reconciliation, a financial settlement is quietly taking place after the Muhammad uprising. Perhaps more surprisingly, there is also demand for compensation from the rebels.

Immediately after the attack on the Norwegian embassy in Damascus on February 4, Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre announced that compensation claims would be made against Syria.

Now Ny Tid can bring further details about the Norwegian claim for compensation to the public: According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), the Norwegian claim against Syria is exactly NOK 8.794.835. The claim against Iran after the rampage of the Norwegian embassy in Tehran is far more modest 69.100 kroner.

However, the slightly over 8,8 million Norway has claimed in damages fade against claims for damages Norway has met in the caricature case.

In Egypt, the political party Young Egypt (Misr El-Fatah) has sued Norway, Denmark and France for a total of just over NOK XNUMX billion.

- It is completely unacceptable that a case is brought against Norway due to the cartoons, all the time there is freedom of the press in this country. We understand that believing Muslims feel offended by the drawings. But the Norwegian authorities are not responsible for what is in print in Norway, says spokeswoman Anne Lene Dale Sandsten at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A writer and associate professor of journalism at the Oslo University College, Nazneen Khan-Östrem, is also considered.

- Although I am critical of the publication of the Muhammad cartoons, this is a new and very, very dangerous situation. If we get a climate where groups go to lawsuits against authorities in other countries for things they do not like are in print, it will be unbearable for free speech, says Khan-Østrem.

She believes that Norway, for its part, has the right to demand damages from Syria and Iran for damaged property. At the same time, the Norwegian requirement is not without problems.

- Especially among those who were behind the demonstrations against Norway, it could create resentment if the authorities pay compensation. It will probably be seen as a knee-jerk reaction, says Khan-Østrem.

In the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, no one has looked at this side of the case.

- The opinion's reaction has not been part of the assessment of whether we should send a claim for compensation. The security of the embassies is the clear responsibility of Syria and Iran, says Dale Sandsten.

We help the needy

According to the Egyptian newspaper Al Masry El Yom, the Young Egypt party's claim of six billion Egyptian pounds was promoted because of the "insult" caused by the publication of the Muhammad cartoons. The sum corresponds to just over NOK XNUMX billion at today's rate.

Shared equally between the three defendant countries, this corresponds to a claim of NOK XNUMX billion against Norway.

The compensation case is fronted by the leader of the party, El Wassif Abdel Wassif. According to the aforementioned article in Al Masry El Yom in early May, he wants the compensation sum to be given to "those in the Islamic world affected by natural disasters and hunger".

As representative of Norway, it is Ambassador Lasse Seim at the Norwegian embassy in Cairo who is listed as the defendant. For now, however, it seems Seim can take it easy.

- We have now received confirmation that the court rejected the lawsuit in a decision on 31 May, and that the plaintiff must pay legal costs. Young Egypt has until August 2 to appeal the verdict, says embassy secretary Tor Kinsarvik Engen at the embassy in Cairo.

Whether Young Egypt will appeal the case is uncertain. Ny Tid has not managed to get in touch with the party.

However, according to Al Masry El Yom, the party leader complained that the court should make a decision on the case on May 31 without time for argument or the opportunity to present witnesses.

Young Egypt, by the way, is not the only group in Egypt that thinks in these trajectories. On March 13 this year, the Norwegian embassy in Cairo sent a report home to the Foreign Ministry. The report states that "an unnamed group of lawyers has sued the Norwegian, Danish and French ambassadors to Egypt claiming compensation totaling six billion Egyptian pounds". The claim is equivalent to about NOK 7,1 billion, and is said to have come in connection with the Mohammed conflict.

The information about this had been snapped up by the "strong regime metro" newspaper al-Gomhourreya.

In conclusion, the embassy reports that "the case is primarily for a curiosity to count". The report says the case illustrates that many actors are seeking to demonstrate their anger over the caricatures of Prophet Muhammad. "In general, there is no doubt that the reverberations in the caricature case have been significantly subdued lately," it continues. The embassy's report nevertheless mentions that four trucks with riot police are still outside the embassy.

- We have now investigated how things have gone with this case, and found that it was rejected at the end of February, Embassy Councilor Kinsarvik Engen states.

According to the Norwegian ambassador, they today have little negative attitude towards Norway because of the caricature drawings.

- Now the mind towards Norway is almost gone, and Norwegian business has not noticed anything

Boycott threats. Although the fear of birds-

The flu is probably one of the main reasons for this, and in fact, there was a doubling of Norwegian fish imports into Egypt in the first quarter of this year. But for Denmark, the boycott of the country became very large and noticeable, says Lasse Seim.

With regard to the Norwegian claims for compensation against Syria and Iran, Ny Tid does not have access to the list of claims Norway has sent to the two countries. But from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is pointed out that the extent of the damage to the Norwegian embassy in Tehran is trifles compared to the burning of the embassy in Damascus.

- Our impression is that Syria is very willing to cooperate in this matter. They strongly regretted what happened to the Norwegian embassy, ​​says the Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman Sandsten.

However, the outcome of the case is still uncertain. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, you are now in the middle of the process.

Doctoral degree burned up

What Syria and Iran think is not good to know yet. Ny Tid has unsuccessfully tried to get an answer on whether the countries will accept the Norwegian demands from both the Iranian embassy in Oslo and the Syrian embassy in Stockholm.

Incidentally, it is not only the Norwegian state that has claimed compensation for the attacks against the Norwegian embassies.

Dag Wollebæk had to see much of his work on his doctorate go up in smoke. His wife worked at the Norwegian embassy and they lived in the embassy building in Damascus with her daughter. The couple's apartment was in the most destroyed part of the embassy buildings.

- One and a half years of work was rampant. This corresponds to between six and seven hundred thousand kroner in lost working hours, Wollebæk says.

He does not know if his compensation claim is included in the Foreign Ministry's claim against Syria. But anyway, he has received signals after talks with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Research Council and the University of Bergen that his loss will be covered.

You may also like