Amnesty criticises Letnes for rosy image

Sandberg Letnes Amnesty InternationalNorwegian Minister of Fisheries, Per Sandberg and his Norwegian-Iranian girlfriend Bahareh Letnes in the studio on Friday during an interview by the actuality program "Dagsnytt 18" on NRK. Photo: NRK / NTB scanpix

Amnesty criticises Letnes for painting a rosy image of the Iranian regime

The Minister of Fisheries’ girlfriend Bahareh Letnes (28) paints a rosy image of the Iranian regime, says the human rights organization Amnesty International.


After a week with heavy criticism, Minister of Fisheries, Per Sandberg (Progress Party) and Letnes appeared for a joint interview in the actuality program “Dagsnytt 18” on Friday. Letnes claimed, among other things, that flogging is not particularly widespread as a form of punishment in Iran.

She also said that the application of sharia law is “only” applicable to 20-30 per cent of all punishment in Iran. Letnes further claimed that if she were to be addressed by the police for not covering her hair using a hijab, she could avoid punishment by apologizing and wearing it.

That is a reality that Amnesty International‘s press contact, Sindre Stranden Tollefsen, does not recognize.

– Amnesty International is absolutely clear on the fact that there is regular use of flogging in Iran, including in our annual report. We totally disagree with the rendering she makes of the situation in the totalitarian state. In the larger picture, we must only repeat that any attempt to paint a rosy image of the regime in Iran is serious and something we strongly disagree with, Tollefsen tells NRK.

Iran Sharia Amnesty

Iranian Justice System. Photo: Amnesty International

Brought his phone to both Iran and China

The Minister of Fisheries has received a lot of criticism and has to answer several questions from the Norwegian Parliament after a holiday trip to Iran. Among other things, he posed a security risk by bringing his work phone along. The phone is delivered to the Police Security Service (PST) and is now impounded.

Furthermore, Sandberg violated basic regulations by not informing the Prime Minister’s office about the trip ahead of time.

Sandberg has admitted having brought the phone with him to China when he was on official visit to the country in June as well. Even so, both the Prime Minister and his Party Leader, Siv Jensen state that he still has their confidence.

Asking about Sandberg’s assessment of sharia in Iran, he told the National Broadcaster (NRK) on Friday that he has very little knowledge about it.

– But both when I was in Iran in 2016 and now I notice that there are nuances. We bathed together, although Bahareh had to wear a considerable amount of clothes.  I saw young people walking hand in hand, he says.

Letnes denies in the same interview that she has any kind of contact with the regime in Iran.


© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today