WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

original french

WEEK 41

08.-14.10.2000

 

07.10.00
Disappeared
A "Garden for the Disappeared" was opened in Meyrin (Geneva), as a place of remembrance in honour of victims of forced disappearance around the world. The Association of Families of Saharawi Prisoners and Disappeared (AFAPREDESA) took part in the inauguration, by planting a tree in memory of the disappeared of their country. Mohamed Bennou, Saharawi former prisoner said: "I bring some earth from Western Sahara, a country occupied by Morocco, where hundreds of Saharawis have disappeared in secret Moroccan centres... Forced disappearance is a crime against humanity, but the opening of a garden for the disappeared is a victory against forgetting, against injustice and impunity." A Saharawi delegation, made up of the Polisario representative in Switzreland, the General Secretary of the Saharawi Union of Jurists, as well as members of the Swiss support committee, attended the ceremony.

08.10.00
Polisario Front
"Any attempt to abandon the peace plan can only be considered as breaking the cease-fire", the National Secretariat of the Polisario Front said in a press release in the course of its third ordinary session.
(SPS)

Occupied territories - Morocco

Arrests
On 05.10, in the region of Guelta Zemmour, the Moroccan Army arrested eight young Saharawis in circumstances that have not been clarified. The young men concerned are Laroussi Abdel Jelil, Daoudi Mohamed Salem, Boumoud Mohamed, Mohamed Salem ould Velli, Zeghman Mohamed, Nefil ould Boussid and Nefi ould Sidi Hacenna ould Kercha. Four other people from the same group were able to escape, but their fate is not known. The families fear that they could have been shot down by Moroccan soldiers. They are El Anssari Said ould Mohamed, Ayach Bachir ould Sidi Mohamed, Bachri Mohamed ould Brahim and Mohamed Lamin ould Mohamed Yahdih. Those apprehended, aged 17-20 years, were subjected to tough interrogation for four days at the station of the gendarmerie in El Ayoun before being transferred to the central prison on 09.10. They are accused of "illegal emigration". (
AFAPREDESA, SPS)

New arrest
A former political detainee, Mr Ahmed Deya, freed recently, has been apprehended once again in El Ayoun and subjected to torture. He is suspected by the Moroccan authorities of being an active militant of the Polisario Front. (
SPS 10.10.00)

Demonstration
In El Ayoun students from the lycée El Moussala demonstrated in protest against the repressive practices of the forces of Moroccan occupation. The latter intervened in massive numbers to break up the demonstration and arrested five students. They were beaten up before being released four hours later.(
SPS)

Sentence
Contrary to what had been announced, Bahaha Salek ould Mahmoud was not liberated but sentenced for endangering the security of the state to four years of closed prison and to a fine of 10,000 dirhams, for having tried to join up with the Polisario Front. Abducted on 27 September at El Ayoun airport, he was sent before the procurer of Agadir on 29 September and tried on 9 October at the magistrates' court in Agadir. Defence lawyers pleaded irregularity arguing that the court in Agadir was incompetent to try Bahaha Salek, since he lives in El Ayoun and that the acts of which he is accused took place in the same town. Bahaha Salek is imprisoned in the civil prison of Inzegane, where there are also three other Saharawis recently convicted of spying for the Polisario Front. (
Communiqué AA RASD, SPS)

Offence
Two young Saharawis, brothers Lehbib and Toufah Emhemed ould Labeid, burnt a car belonging to the Moroccan gendarmerie in Smara with a gas canister placed in the vehicle. The two Saharawis were immediately arrested and interrogated by the Smara gendarmerie brigade, where they are still detained. (
SPS)

Marrakech
Saharawi student Rajaa Brahim, 21 years, a first year economics student, arrested during the events in Marrakech last May and sentenced on 20 June to 5 years in prison for having burnt a car of the Moroccan administration (Week 26), was transferred at the beginning of October from Marrakech prison to that of El Jadida, to distance him from other Saharawi students imprisoned in Marrakech. (
corr.)

10.-12.10.00
Canary Islands
The Saharawi President Mohamed Abdelaziz traveled to the Canary Islands, where he had talks with the head of the Canary Government, Mr Roman Rodriguez, described as «fruitful and interesting». During a press conference in Las Palmas, Mohamed Abdelaziz called on the Spanish Government to play a bigger role in order to guarantee respect for the settlement plan, since Spain is in a position to take the necessary measures. In Lanzarote, where he opened a photographic exhibition, the first Saharawi affirmed that, when Western Sahara has independence, Spanish fishermen will no longer have the problems they have today, created by Morocco's continual blackmail of Spain over the fishing agreements. The presidential delegation met in Las Palmas with representatives of twin towns and support committees of the Canaries. (
SPS)

Moroccan press - Quotation of the week
« (...) the acceptance by the Polisario of the third way, at the price of discrediting its Algerian sponsor, would put Morocco in a rather delicate situation. If this were to happen, it would entail, as well as the repatriation of all the separatists in the territories, a redistribution of local power to the detriment of the present balance. The new deal would be bound to create certain imbalances and to revive locally certain bitterness and hostilities. In the case of a firm refusal by the Polisario, Morocco would have to choose between two positions. The first would be to maintain a sterile status quo and to remain expectant. The second scenario, and which could give better 'pay-off', would be that Morocco, scarcely wait for the response of 'the other party', would take the initiative. A step consisting in the unilateral granting of wide autonomy with all the necessary safeguards for the maintenance of unity and cohesion of the kingdom.» (
Demain, weekly newspaper, 09.10.00, quoted by the press review of the French Embassy in Rabat)

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