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Norwegian Youth politicians detained in Western Sahara

Arrested in the Moroccan- occupied Western Sahara. Aftenposten/NTB, 21 August 2007.
Published: 23.08 - 2007 23:41Printer version    
(Photo: Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara. From the left: Andrea Gustavsson, Elkouria Amidane, Kamilla Eidsvik)

21 August 2007

Kamilla Eidsvik and Andrea Gustavsson were detained on the open street, after having witnessed police officers storming one of the neighbouring houses to where they were staying in El Aaiun.

Gustavsson, a Swedish citizen, represents Sør-Trøndelag county on the national board of Socialist Youth League of Norway (SU), and Eidsvik is active in the youth party's international work.

The two youth politicians were put in an armoured vehicle and taken to a police station, where they were interrogated for two hours before being released.

"They wanted to know who we are, why we are on visit here and who we were staying with", Eidsvik tells NTB by phone.

Ordered to return
The two youth politicians have been ordered to return to the police station on Tuesday afternoon. They are uncertain what will happen then.

"We had planned to return to Norway on Wednesday, so we don't expect to be expelled", Eidsvik says.  

The SU activists are more worried what kind of destiny is awaiting the family they have stayed with, once they return to Norway.

Visited Norway
Among the family members, is the 22 year old human rights activist, Elkouria Amidane, who earlier this summer visited Norway. In Oslo she met among others Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, as well as politicians from several youth parties.

"We are very worried what will happen to them. Amidane is convinced that they will be arrested once we leave", Eidsvik says.

The human rights activist has on several previous occasions been tortured by Moroccan police, and her brother was recently sentenced to five years in prison.

Norwegian journalists and activists have on several occasions been expelled from Western Sahara and Morocco over the last years.

In 2005, a delegation including Member of Parliament Eva Kristin Hansen, and the Rafto Foundation chairman, Arne Lynngård, was expelled. Their interpreter was detained and tortured.

Nordic diplomats have repeatedly been denied access to the former Spanish colony in Western Sahara, under Moroccan occupation since 1975.  

SU's mother party the Socialist Left Party [in the Norwegian government], in a national board meeting this year, decided to demand a Norwegian recognition of the Western Sahara republic, referring to Morocco's systematic undermining of the UN's demand of self-determination for its people.

[Translated from Norwegian by the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara]

Source (Norwegian original):




Since 1975, three quarters of the territory of Western Sahara has been occupied by Morocco. A majority of the population is still living in refugee camps in Algeria. Those who remained in their homeland are subjected to serious harassment from the Moroccan occupiers. For more than 40 years the Sahrawis have been waiting for the fullfilment of their legitimate right to self-determination.

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