Norwegian Youth politicians detained in Western Sahara
Article image
Arrested in the Moroccan- occupied Western Sahara. Aftenposten/NTB, 21 August 2007.
Published 23 August 2007

(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):

UN human rights expert decries “clampdown” on human rights defenders

Morocco must stop targeting human rights defenders and journalists standing up for human rights in Western Sahara, and allow them to work without reprisals, UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, said today.

01 July 2021

Sultana's home raided by police, activists arrested

In an early morning raid today, masked agents terrorized and assaulted the home of the Saharawi human rights defender Sultana Khaya, stole belongings and took three activists to an undisclosed location.

10 May 2021

UN experts urge Morocco to release imprisoned Sahrawi journalist

On 7 June 2019, videos began to circulate showing Moroccan police brutally beating up a Saharawi journalist in occupied Western Sahara. Today, a UN opinion calling for his release from prison was made public. 

07 February 2021

Sultana has spent two months in house arrest

The Saharawi activist Sultana Khaya and her family has for almost 10 weeks been harrassed by Moroccan police when leaving or entering their home in occupied Western Sahara. Help us to denounce. 

26 January 2021