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Group of friends expelled, talked with wrong people on bus
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A group of six friends, five Norwegians and one Swede, started talking with the wrong people on the bus, according to Moroccan police. As a consequence, they are now being expelled from south Morocco, refused access to occupied Western Sahara.
Published: 23.01 - 2017 21:12Printer version    
On picture (from left) Mari Hansen, Amalie Wuotila, Johanna Isaksen Aaker, Amalie Rausand Søllesvik, Idunn Bathen Nonstad, and Caroline Ekeberg. Ms Wuotila is from Sweden, the rest from Norway

UPDATE, 21:50, the group has a police escort. They are all six in one car, followed by two police vehicules.

Six friends from Norway and Sweden were on 23 January 8PM, CET, were stopped in a police control in south Morocco, heading towards occupied Western Sahara. There, they had plans to meet with local human rights activists.

When the bus came to the last control, near the border to Western Sahara, the journey ended.

"The police refused us to travel further as we had ended up speaking with the wrong people on the bus. They said that a man we had gotten to know on the bus was in conflict with local authorities in Western Sahara", Mari Hansen told. Hansen is active in the Tromsø chapter of the Labour youth of Norway.

"We are right now sitting by the side of the road near the border between Morocco and Western Sahara and we are apparently waiting for a car to drive us back to Agadir. The bus we were on has just left", Johanna Isaksen Aaker told at 8:15PM.

Today, an important trial commenced against 25 leading human right activists near the Moroccan capitol of Rabat. The 25 activists are already convicted to imprisonments fro 20 years to life for having organised protests in the territory.

"It is very regrettable that they do not allow international visits to Western Sahara. Morocco must lift the blockade of the territory immediately", Ms Idunn Nonstad told.

Morocco has only in 2015-2017 refused the UN Secretary-General and the UN special envoy access to the territory, and they have thrown out half of the UN staff deployed by the Security Council. Morocco also has succeeded to prevent the UN operation from reporting on human rights violations. This is thanks to their unconditional support from France which is against a referendum and human rights monitoring in the territory.

Over the course of the last 3 days, 28 Norwegians and 1 Swede have been expelled from Western Sahara or from checkpoints in south Morocco.



    

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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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