Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Norwegian youth staying with the Amidanes detained

Moroccan police in Western Sahara love to harass two groups: the Sahrawi Amidane family, and Norwegians. It was a happy day for them, then, when they discovered them both in the same place. Last week, two Norwegian youth politicians staying with the Amidanes were arrested and interrogated by Moroccan police.

Kamilla Eidsvik and Andrea Gustavsson, the arrested girls, are members of a socialist youth party in Norway (even though one of them is Swedish). They were on the street in El Aiaun when they saw Moroccan security forces raid a house. As you might've noticed at this point, Morocco isn't thrilled when outsiders visit Western Sahara to see if it's treating the Sahrawis as well as it claims. The girls were bundled into an armored car and held for two hours. Since they were going to leave Western Sahara anyway, they weren't expelled.

This isn't going to help the Amidane family, whose imprisoned son El-Ouali is already a cause celebre amongst Western Saharan activists. Their daughter Rabab (pictured with the Scandinavian women) has been beaten by Moroccan police and recently visited Norway to garner support for Western Sahara.

The event gives lie to Morocco's claim that it's treating Sahrawis well. Why would Morocco arrest young, foreign women just for being near a raid unless that raid was unlawful? I'd like to see Morocco's henchmen claim the young women presented a security risk.

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