‘I am very glad to be able to confirm that the Congolese authorities decided yesterday to transfer Joshua French to Norway. Mr French arrived in Norway today and is now receiving necessary medical attention. The strain on Mr French and those closest to him has been huge, and I am relieved that he is now back in Norway,’ said Prime Minister Erna Solberg.
Joshua French arrived in Norway this morning after being flown out of Congo in a special aircraft with medical personnel on board.
‘In their decision, the Congolese authorities have emphasised the humanitarian aspects of the case, and particular consideration was given to Mr French’s mother, Kari Hilde French. Her tireless efforts and the concern that she has shown for her son have made an impression on all of us,’ said Ms Solberg.
The decision to transfer Mr French followed a request from the Norwegian authorities.
‘Norway greatly appreciates the flexibility shown by the Congolese authorities. This is an exceptional case, and has been a high priority for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Foreign Service staff both at home and abroad have worked hard over a number of years to achieve this result. Today I would like to thank all those who have helped to bring about a solution to this case,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
Joshua French and Tjostolv Moland were arrested in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2009. The Norwegian Foreign Service worked continuously to reach agreement with the Congolese authorities on transferring the two men to Norway until Mr Moland’s death in 2013, and since then has been working to secure the transfer of Mr French.
‘This has been a very difficult case for everyone involved, not least for Joshua French and Tjostolv Moland and their families. Today our thoughts are particularly with Tjostolv Moland, who died in Congolese prison in 2013. I ask that all those involved in the case will be given the peace and privacy they need in the weeks ahead,’ said Mr Brende.