A Norwegian baker fined NOK 300,000 (about USD 50,800) for employing a paperless Eritrean asylum seeker is to appear before Stavanger District Court, western Norway, after refusing to pay on humanitarian grounds.
“We must win this case. I don’t understand that a society that is based on humane principles can expel Sultan,” Bjørn Sverre Hagen, owner of company Solabakeren, tells Stavanger Aftenblad.
Eritrean Sultan Belay Fsahe was given a job at Solabakeren in western Norway eight years ago. Norwegian authorities revoked his tax card in 2011 under a general measure to remove paperless immigrants’ right to legal employment, despite Mr Fsahe and others having paid taxes up until then.
As part of a district-wide crackdown in October last year, Mr Hagen was warned he had to let him go, but chose to keep him on instead.
Rogaland police imposed a NOK 300,000 fine on Mr Hagen at the beginning of 2012 for his actions, which he greeted with disbelief, and is determined to fight. “And I still don’t believe that it’s true that I’ll be appearing in court,” says Mr Hagen.
Sultan Belay Fsahe has two sons, a stepson, and lives with his legal partner. All are Norwegian citizens. Mr Hagen cannot understand authorities’ decision to throw him out, reports Stavanger Aftenblad.
“They’ll lose the one who looks after and provides for them. What about the future of the children and family,” Mr Hagen asks, saying his shop is not as important to him as caring for people is.
“I’m not a hard-nosed businessman, but rather a basically kind person. I disagree with myself; nothing is black-and-white. Sultan’s background prior to coming to Norway is unknown, but is also not of interest. This [matter] is about [his] time in Norway. People should be treated as people. This is about being and thinking like a human being,” he concludes.