Swedish fishermen in Western Sahara found not guilty

The two Swedish fishermen accused of illegal fishing outside the coast of Western Sahara were found not guilty by the district court in Gothenburg, Sweden, on 28 November. The prosecutor will appeal the decision.
Published: 04.12 - 2012 15:44Printer version    
In a hard-to-read statement from the district court of Gothenburg, Sweden, published 26 November, the court explained that two Swedish fishermen in question indeed carried out the activity in Western Sahara as described by the prosecutor.

The two Swedes were before the courts for fisheries activities offshore Western Sahara without the right permissions in its national registries. WSRW has followed the case over the last years.

The court concluded indeed that they had been fishing without the required permissions, and lent little credibility to their explanation that they had not fished themselves. The fishermen claimed they had only rented out their vessels to a Moroccan company.

Inspite of this, the court found them not guilty due to a formality in the description of the alleged crime.

The prosecutor James von Reis told the Swedish magazine Västsahara that he intends to appeal against the verdict to the court of appeal, and that the case will return before the courts hopefully during the spring in 2013.




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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