Freedom of speech and dissent appear to be trampled in Norway once again.
Norwegian counsel and human rights activist Marius Reikeras‘ work has been found illegal by a low-level court in the city of Bergen. He writes in a FB message:
Today my Human Rights work in Norway, has been found to be illegal by the Bergen City court.
I was not allowed to be present in the trial.
The judgment is not final and will be appealed, but I have decided to protest against this evil regime, by closing down my Human Rights work in Norway .
I will carry on and speed up my work internationally, as the world needs to be aware of the crimes against humanity that takes place here, and how the regime shuts down the voices of those who try to battle it.
From this moment, I will not be on Facebook, and the protest will carry on until I have the necessary guarantees not longer being harassed by the Norwegian authorities.”
Reikeras has been very active in social media criticizing various actions of the Norwegian government, especially in the area of Child Protective Services (Barnevernet) where high-profile cases have demonstrated human rights violations. He traveled to the United States and other European countries in support of the Bodnariu family and other Barnevernet victims. He participated as a speaker in various protests at home and abroad supporting families whose children have been removed without due process.
To those of us living in the United States it is unfathomable to not be allowed to face your accuser in court. This appears to be the case here as Marius was not allowed to be present at trial. One could reasonably conclude that his activity on Facebook where he has approximately 12,000 followers has been banned by the court.
Freedom of speech. Freedom of dissent. Freedom to protest. Freedom to criticize the government.
Do these freedoms continue to exist in Norway? Regardless of how Norwegians feel about Marius Reikeras or anyone else’s work, this ruling should be very troubling for them.