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- The state's rubbish bin

Trandum internment camp at Gardermoen was built for short-term stays. Now people sit there for up to one year, while being fed freeze-dried food.


- I promise to leave the country. I promise never to come back. Just let us out of here, asks Muhamed Alic (43). Through the window you can see another plane leaving Gardermoen's runway. His wife Liza (41) is crying. The room consists of six beds and a table. On the table is a Bible in Serbo-Croatian.

- I can not stand more. I do not know what to do, she says.

The two Gypsies from the former Yugoslavia have been on the Trandum foreigner intern for 28 days. They had their three children when they came to Norway in 2005. When Muhamed and Liza were arrested in January they were not with the children. Now the Norwegian authorities do not know where the three children of fifteen, thirteen and twelve years are.

- This is not a place for children. Can not at least the wife be allowed to go so she can be with them, asks her husband Muhamed.

He and his wife claim that they also do not know where the children are.


Liza and Muhamed are just two of those arrested through section 37 of the Immigration Act. If a foreigner refuses to give up his or her identity, or "there is a reasonable reason to suspect" that they are giving up a false identity, they can be arrested and imprisoned. The total imprisonment period may not exceed twelve weeks, "unless special reasons exist." In practice, this means that there is no time limit on how long they can stay in prison. For Muhamed and Liza, this means that they may be at Trandum for a very long time.

Lawyer Arild Humlen is the head of the Oslo Circuit Law Society, which organizes over 3500 lawyers, and has one of the inmates as his client. Hops believes there are several similarities between the treatment of those interned at Trandum and the US prison camp at Guantánamo.

- A regime is created outside all existing norms. That is the Guantánamo mentality. You create a prison where you do not have to comply with society's basic norms. We can not accept that, says Humlen.

He has asked the Advocate Association's human rights group to consider the extent to which conditions at Trandum violate human rights.

- The conditions are clearly in conflict with the European Prison Convention. And this in every way bears the mark of being a prison, says Humlen.

He believes that treatment at Trandum may also violate Article Three of the European Convention on Human Rights, which states "No one should be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

Last stop

While other prisoners are in prisons with good facilities, foreigners must sit in a boarding house which is only intended for stays over a few days. The former military camp should really only serve as the last stop before foreigners with illegal residence were sent out of the country. Four years ago, the then municipal minister, Erna Solberg, told the Storting that "the boarding house is only intended for short-term stays....

But a year later, something happened. The prison queues kept getting longer and the police took over responsibility for Trandum. In October last year, the Council of Europe's torture monitoring committee visited the Internet. They found that a person had been locked up at Trandum for over a year. In addition, they stated that the activity offer is too poor when people are kept there for a long time.

Long-term affair

Liza is seriously ill. Norwegian specialists have stated that she must undergo surgery to remove cysts in the abdominal region.

Every half hour XNUMX hours a guard comes into their room to check that the window is properly locked.

- Even if I take sleeping pills, I am not allowed to sleep. I have to lie down with all my clothes on, I'm afraid they'll see me naked, says Liza. A security guard who listens to the conversation embarrassingly says "that they try to be as quiet as possible".

On Friday, February 24, their case will be open to the Oslo District Court. Liza has admitted that she bought the identification papers for 100 euros from a man. In the judgment of Asker and Bærum Tingrett, it states that "the court finds that it is very likely that the fabricated will evade the police's further investigation if they are not imprisoned". But many Gypsies from the former Yugoslavia lack identification papers. They even claim to be from Bosnia and Serbia.

- It is very uncertain whether the Bosnian and Serbian authorities want to issue ID documents to gypsies, says their lawyer, Halvor Gjengstø. And as long as they do not have valid ID documents, no country will accept them either.

Gjenstø thinks they could risk sitting in the boarding house for a long time.

- This can be a long-term affair, he says.

The lawyer believes the alternative is that they be transferred to an ordinary asylum reception, so that they can be reunited with their children.

- I think there are few who are aware of how bad the conditions here are. This is the state's rubbish bin for human waste, says lawyer Trond Olsen Næss.

The only food the inmates get is frozen turkey and bread slices. In addition, Trandum is located at the end of Gardermoen Airport. So sleep, according to the inmates, is in short supply.

Næs has had two clients who have been in the boarding school for a long time. One client sat from August last year to January this year. The second set from September to the end of January.

- I think it is strange that people further up in the system do not react. I wonder how much they know, says Næss.

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