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Maria Amelie deported to Moscow

North Ossetian refugee Madina Salamova, known under her pen name Maria Amelie, has been deported to Russia from Norway, where she and her family have been residing illegally for years.

­She arrived at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on Monday evening, accompanied by her boyfriend. The photos of her arrival appeared in the latest blog entry by famous Russian blogger Rustem Adagamov, known under the pseudonym “drugoi”. The blogger wrote that Amelie refused to talk to journalists.

Maria Amelie was arrested earlier this month but was later released on condition that she will report to police daily until her eventual deportation.

The 25-year-old has been in the media spotlight for weeks now. Seven years ago her family moved from Russia’s city of Vladikavkaz in the Caucasus and then to Finland. Finally they settled in Norway, although illegally as Norwegian authorities refused them a residence permit.
Maria has learnt Norwegian and successfully graduated from a technological university. Last year she published a book about the life of illegal immigrants in the Scandinavian country – which gained her the title Norwegian of the Year in 2010.

She filed a request for political asylum but the authorities found no grounds for it. Some top Norwegian politicians and members of the public have backed Salamova. Volunteers have collected signatures in her support but this has been of little help.

“Maria Amelie is going to be deported,” Pal K Lonseth, Deputy Justice Minister said on January 18.

However, the head of Norway’s Foreign Ministry said that after deportation Maria will have the right to apply for a work permit and return to the country.

The case of Maria Amelie has prompted a series of rallies in support of undocumented workers in Norway. On Saturday, hundreds marched through the capital Oslo to demand amendments to the Norwegian law in favor of immigrants that are de-facto integrated in society. The demands included giving residence permits to children who have lived in the country for at least three or four years and providing healthcare for all those residing in Norway, both legally and illegally.

“We are grateful that Maria Amelie and her supporters have told a story about what it’s like to be an undocumented refugee in Norway,” protestors wrote in an appeal to the authorities. “Now we want to turn attention to all the other undocumented workers.”