Norwegian citizen of the year faces deportation

A young woman named Citizen of the Year in Norway is likely to be deported to Russia because she doesn’t have the right immigration papers. Maria Amelie, who has published a book called Illegal Norwegian, remains an unlawful migrant despite coming to the country as a child more than a decade ago.

The 25-year-old, who was named as Citizen of the Year 2010 by a Norwegian magazine, was released from a detention centre in Oslo this week after thousands of supporters rallied behind her. It is believed however that despite the affection she has garnered from the Norwegian people, she will be deported to be birth-country, Russia.

“I live in constant fear,” she told NRK, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, shortly after her release on January 18. “As soon as I pause for a few minutes, it becomes difficult to breathe, which is the way I felt at the detention centre. I’ve come a long way; I’ve fought for myself. My friends and the whole country supported me in this fight. Where am I supposed to go now? My home is here, in Norway.”

Authorities in Norway have refused to bow to the public pressure to allow Amelie to remain in the country. “We must treat everyone in the same way,” Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said. “We cannot make an exception just because a person has drawn a lot of attention. If we start making exceptions to the rules, we will start receiving thousands of unfounded asylum requests.”

Brnjulf Risnes, the woman’s close friend and lawyer, said, “Immigration authorities consider that residing in Norway as long as she did without documents is a very serious offense. Although she has lived here for such a long time and has truly become a Norwegian woman, authorities insist that she must leave Norway and return to her native country. Judging from the way things look now, she is highly likely to be sent to Russia.”

Amelie, whose real name is believe to be Madina Salamova, fled Russia with her parents after they received death threats for their refusal to hand over part of their business to authorities. They were also denied residency in Finland before moving to Norway and remaining without legal papers.

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