Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Norway Admits it Helped Children of Moroccan Olympian Secretly Leave Morocco

"Morocco Olympic champion's children 'not abducted'"

"The children of a Moroccan Olympic champion say they fled from his house and were smuggled out of the country with the help of Norwegian diplomats.
The case has sparked an international row, with Morocco demanding that Norway put its diplomats on trial.

The children of Khalid Skah, who won the 10,000m gold at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, have gone on Norwegian TV to say they left of their own free will.

Mr. Skah says they were kidnapped but Norway denies it was directly involved.

Tarik, who is 13, and Selma, 16, told the Norwegian news channel TV2 Nyhetskanalen they ran away from their father's house, in July 2009, after he became increasingly strict and locked them in their rooms.

They contacted their Norwegian mother, who had come to Morocco with the family in 2006, but left in 2007 when the relationship broke down.

She got in touch the Norwegian embassy, which arranged for the children to be picked up from the streets of the capital, Rabat, and taken to the Norwegian ambassador's residence, where they stayed until they could be smuggled out of the country on a yacht bound for Spain.

'It was our choice to flee,' Tarik said.

'We weren't allowed to live a normal life, we weren't allowed to go to school,' said Selma...

Norway admitted on Monday that one of its diplomats had helped hide the children, and two members of its special forces had taken them out of Morocco...

Morocco has accused Norwegian officials of breaking the Vienna Convention on diplomatic activity.

Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi Fihri, said: 'The Norwegian embassy gave itself the right to... mete out its own justice on the territory of a sovereign state in a private affair and beyond all rules and ethics.'

He said all the diplomats involved must be put on trial."

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