Sabre-rattling in both hemispheres.
In the aftermath of accused cocaine smuggler Christina Øygarden’s flight from Bolivia to Norway, authorities in both countries don’t seem to have quite landed.
First reactions came from Bolivian state attorney Claudia Mancilla Ballesteros, expressing surprise and outrage when she heard the news.
“She’s not going to get away with this. We’re going to use every means in our power – including Interpol and the Norwegian authorities – to secure her arrest, and get her returned to Bolivia,” she told NRK angrily yesterday.
But the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already discounted that Øygarden will be returned. Norway has no extradition agreement with Bolivia.
Awaiting further developments
Norwegian criminal police (Kripos) interviewed Øygarden yesterday, but have decided to wait for Bolivian authorities to decide before taking further action.
“The woman is an accused person in Bolivia, and the Norwegian police are assisting in the investigation,” says police prosecutor Joakim Staff in a press release.
Kripos have aided Bolivian authorities by investigating a Norwegian drug network they believe have connections to Bolivian criminals. 20 people have been charged so far.
Police say they’ve not been involved in her return to Norway and are making no further comment.
Should be arrested
Per Sandberg, the Progress Party’s (FrP) head of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Justice, criticises how the matter has been handled. He wants Øygarden locked up immediately.
“The charges against her are extremely serious, and I don’t think it’s appropriate that Norwegian authorities have let this go as lightly as they have. The police should have placed her under arrest when she landed at Gardermoen,” he says.
Sandberg thinks both Knut Storberget, the Minister of Justice, and Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre should make a deal with Bolivian authorities to punish Øygarden here.
Øygarden escaped from Boliva earlier this month on a temporary passport issued by the Norwegian Consulate in La Paz last month after changing her last name.
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