The Russian border to Norway. Photo: Atle Staalesen

Tried to make it to Norway, ended up in Russian jail

The three Afghans who illegally tried to cross the Arctic border between Russia and Norway have been sentenced to six months behind bars.
January 23, 2018

The young Afghans were caught by Russian border guards as they in September last year tried to make it across to Norway.

They were detained inside the closed border zone, an area sealed off by fences with barbed wire. Russian prosecutors subsequently initiated legal proceedings against the border violators.

This week the prosector’s office in Pechenga, the Russian border municipality, sentenced the men to six months of jail. The sentence has not yet come into force, a press release reads.

The Afghans had made it to Murmansk in mid-September 2017 where they rented a flat and subsequently managed to get a lift to the Pechenga municipality. From there, they made it into to closed border zone. The young men had done away with all identity papers during their stay in Murmansk, the Pechenga prosecutors office says.

This was the fifth time over a period of six months that migrants had been arrested in attempt to cross the border to Norway. In August 2017, a Syrian citizen was arrested after he climbed the through the barbed wire fence. In July, two other Syrians made it through the fence, but were detained before they reached the borderline. In June, four Moroccans were arrested and in March, two Iranians were halted.

On the Russian side of the border, the barbed wire fence stretches all 196 kilometers. The fence has alarm system and in some areas near public roads, there are also surveillance cameras working day and night. The fence is in different distances to the border line itself, some places a few hundred meters, other places several kilometers from the border.

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In the autumn 2015, some 5,500 migrants where allowed to leave Russia and enter Norway at the Borisoglebsk-Storskog border checkpoints. The so-called “Arctic Migrant Route” ended in late November 2015. 

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