Mads Ellesøe is an award winning Danish journalist, who has made one story on Western Sahara in his carreer. The story was published 2 days before his arrival to Morocco, and treated the issue of EU fisheries in Western Sahara.
Danish journalist detained in Morocco The free lance journalist was detained in Morocco, where the authorities confiscated hard disks, passports and mobile phones. He is now safe in paris.
Moroccan authorities this week-end detained the Danish journalist Mads Ellesøe. This happens only 2 days after [Danish Broadcasting Corporation] DR aired a documentary about Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara, and the billion kroners that the European fishermen are paying the Moroccan regime to fish in the occupied territories. This is told by a press release from the Danish Broadcasting Corporation today.
The detention of the journalist behind the documentary happened Saturday night, when men in plain clothes woke Mads Ellesøk and his girlfriend at their hotel room in Marrakech. The couple had arrived the Moroccan city Saturday noon.
The six men did not want to show identification, but said they had followed Mads Ellesøes movements already before he arrived Morocco.
“We were called in for interrogation, and we were forced to sign a document that we constituted a danger to public order. It was only out on the airport that we discovered that the hard disk was gone”, said Mads Ellesøe to www.Journalisten.dk
He is now in Paris with his girlfriend. He does not mean that the hard disk contains information that can harm him nor his sources. He has himself a backup at home. But the girlfriend doesn’t.
All her documents are gone.
Furthermore, Mads Ellesøe and his girlfriend got their passports and SIM card confiscated.
During the interrogations, the men in plain clothes furthermore told Mads Ellesøke that they were aware that he had been in the neighbouring country of Algeria, and that he had sources there on whom they wanted the names.
The recordings of the free lance journalist last week at P1 Documentary, tok place exactly on the border of Algeria and Western Sahara. The Moroccan police also wanted information on Mads Ellesøe’s sources and local contacts in Marrakech, just as they wanted to know what kind of stories he wanted to work on.
“These are not questions one asks a journalist. All points to the fact that the detention of Mads Ellesøe takes place as a result of his critical journalist about the controversial European deals with Moroccan authorities about the fishing rights in the occupied territories. Therefore, this is not merely a case about a Danish tourist, but about press freedom. I expect that the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs take this case very seriously”, stated editor of P1 Documentary, Tanja Nyrup Madsen, in a press release.
Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
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Leading activists from Western Sahara are condemned to sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment in connection to a mass protest in 2010 denouncing the Saharawi people’s social and economic marginalization in their occupied land; the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
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