Washington — The government of Norway has asked an unidentified Sudanese diplomat to leave the country after linking him with a man accused of spying on refugees.
Earlier today, officials at Norway's police intelligence (PST) announced that they have arrested a 38 years old Sudanese immigrant at his home in Trondheim who they allege was secretly collecting information on his fellow countrymen.
The spy was passing the information he gathered to the expelled diplomat whose position at the embassy was not revealed.
"As far as we know, this is the first arrest made for spying on refugees in Norway since the 1970s," said Martin Bernsen, information chief for PST.
The Sudanese ambassador in Oslo was summoned to the foreign ministry and informed of the country's decision.
"We had a meeting today where we called in the Sudanese ambassador....Our position is that the diplomat's activities aren't in line with his position as a diplomat. Therefore we have asked that he leave the country as soon as possible" spokesman of the Norwegian Foreign Ministry Kjetil Elsebutangen told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).
Even though the ministry had not formally designated the diplomat a persona non grata, it expected the individual to leave Norway, Elsebutangen said.
But the Sudanese ambassador Al-Noor Ahmed speaking to NRK dismissed the charge.
"We deny that we have been involved in espionage. What interest would we have such information?" Ahmed asked.
"I just read about the case in online newspapers. Now we're trying to find out who the arrested man is and if he needs our assistance" he added.
NRK disclosed that the Norwegian police is monitoring suspected spies from Eritrea and Ethiopia carrying out similar activities.
In 2008 German authorities arrested a Sudanese man on accusations that he was spying on Sudanese opposition groups in Germany for Khartoum's foreign intelligence service.