A former fighter with the Wagner Group, who recently fled to Norway to seek asylum, has been arrested.
According to Gulagu.net, a Russian rights group that helped him escape, Andrey Medvedev faces possible deportation to Russia.
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Jon Andreas Johansen, a police official in charge of immigration affairs, told the Associated Press on Monday that the 26-year-old had been apprehended on suspicion of entering the country without documentation.
“It is being assessed whether he should be produced for detention,” Johansen said.
Medvedev crossed into Norway from neighbouring Russia on January 13, looking for shelter in the Nordic nation.
He claims to have climbed through barbed-wire fences at the 198 kilometre-long (123-mile) frontier, and evaded border patrol officials with dogs.
After witnessing the killing and mistreatment of Russian prisoners brought to the front lines in Ukraine to fight for the Wagner Group, Medvedev feared for his life.
The shadowy paramilitary organisation is closely aligned with the Kremlin and has been heavily involved in Russia’s invasion.
‘He has seen the light’
Gulagu.net, which campaigns for prisoners’ rights and has been in contact with Medvedev since he fled, said he had been detained and handcuffed on Sunday evening and told he was being taken to a detention centre for subsequent deportation.
There was no confirmation from Norwegian authorities of any plan to deport him.
Gulagu.net said Medvedev would face “brutal murder and death” for speaking out against Wagner if he was returned to Russia.
“We do not whitewash Medvedev. He has done many bad things in his life,” the rights group said.
“But he has seen the light, he has realised this, he is ready and willing to cooperate with the world, with the international investigation and with the authorities of Norway, he wants to live and testify” against Wagner and its founder Yevgeny Prigozhin, it added.
Medvedev is an orphan who joined the Russian army and served time in prison before joining the Wagner Group last July on a four-month contract.
He claims Wagner repeatedly extended his contract without his consent.
He has reportedly told Gulagu.net that he is ready to expose everything he knows about the force of mercenary fighters, which Washington has said will be considered a criminal entity.