Swedish fishermen in Western Sahara found not guilty
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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 December 2012

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.

New report: Sweden must advise companies on Western Sahara

Sweden is known for paying lip-service to Saharawi self-determination, but is it putting its money where its mouth is? Check out our newly published report on Sweden's involvement in the taking of occupied Western Sahara's natural resources.

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