Two journalists from Norwegian state television were arrested and held for over 30 hours by security forces in Qatar without explanation while reporting on the upcoming FIFA World Cup, before being allowed to travel back home, the network said Wednesday. Qatar’s government did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the arrests of Halvor Ekeland and Lokman Ghorbani, whom NRK said had been in the small Gulf Arab nation as it marked one year to go before the soccer tournament. The two were reportedly detained after reporting on the condition of migrant laborers during a live report. The journalists told NRK that they were not allowed to leave with their equipment. The Norwegian Union of Journalists criticized the journalists’ arrest.
Qatar, a small, energy-rich nation that sticks out like a thumb into the Persian Gulf, is home to the forward headquarters of the U.S. military’s Central Command. It has faced increased scrutiny over the treatment of migrant labor in the country since winning the right to host the upcoming tournament.