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SEDAI campaigner sues Norwegian univ. officials

TEHRAN, Jun. 14 (MNA) – The expulsion of Iranian students from a Norwegian university sparked a campaign against unjust conduct in academic environment.

Mehr News carried out an interview with Hamideh Kaffash, one of the affected students in Norway to find out more about the latest developments in the case filed in Norwegian courts about the misconduct and misbehavior targeting Iranian students:

Where did basically the whole story of expulsion begin? And what was the government’s argument?

It seems to have started in a systematic way in 2013 (if not earlier), one year before my arrival in Norway. Then it kept on in 2014 and affected us too, but we were not the first ones, but hopefully the last ones. The difference was that we could not be silent; we spoke out and challenged the Norwegian authorities.


What have you been studying in Norway and technically, how can it be related to WMDs or any prohibited application?

The professor at NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) got to know me through a mutual friend and gave the announcement for a PhD position and this is how I got the position amongst 70 applicants from different countries. It is a well-paying country for PhD studies and I ended up in Trondheim. The research I was involved in is an environmentally friendly project and has absolutely nothing to do with WMDs or even peaceful nuclear technology.


How many Iranian students were expelled from Norway and what happened to them?

According to the Norwegian authorities we are 52 students. Many of them went to other countries like Sweden to pursue their education, the rest are backing home. The majority did not take any action to my knowledge, but few helped us to protest the authorities and the injustice we experienced.


Since some of them moved to other neighboring countries to continue their education; so why wouldn’t they be banned in those countries if it was for their field of study?

All the European countries are obliged with the same regulations, the anti-Iran sanctions. But why would Norwegian security police interpret the regulations in this manner is the question that they avoid answering. We take them to the court on Wednesday to get the answer to the same question then.


How was your campaign received by the public either in Norway, in Iran or around the world?

The focus of our campaign (Stop Education Discrimination against Iranians or SEDAI) was Norway and it was very well received in the Norwegian academic environment. It was also supported by prominent figures such as Professor Noam Chomsky.


What do you think or expect the outcome of the court would be?

We of course expect nothing other than the Norwegian security police and immigration authorities being condemned for the unjustified discrimination they imposed to so many Iranian students. If there shall be a fair judgment, the natural outcome of the court will be that the Norwegian authorities being sentenced to:

1- Official apology to Iranian students;

2- Commitments to change the practice and ensure that similar events will not occur;

3- and, Compensate for students who have been affected.

We are really hopeful to see the upcoming week. If for some reasons the Oslo District Court has a different conclusion, we will take it up to the Norwegian Supreme Court. Our success is the unavoidable final outcome of this campaign because we were deprived of our rights in a cruel way. I already made Norwegian authorities sure that we will not give up until we get it. This is also the case for our fellow Iranians in other countries. We should all get together and stand against unlawful and inhuman discriminations we are facing.

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