Saharawi students from the lycée at Smara decided on a limited strike for World Day for Human Rights. In a statement they demand "the unconditional liberation of all Saharawi political detainees, moral and material compensation for persons persecuted during the bloody events of 17 November and the end of the state of siege imposed on Smara". The text asks that those responsible be brought to justice and for "an end to harrassment of the young women of the town" by the Moroccan security forces. (SPS)
Saharawi widows of Goulimine and young unemployed women have been holding a sit-in since 10 December in front of the administrative offices of the town to demand that their social grievances be dealt with and also to "express their solidarity with their compatriots who have suffered arbitrary arrest in Smara, El Ayoun and Assa". (SPS)
Abdelfatah L'kbir L'fater (aged 20 years) was abducted by the Moroccan authorities in Smara. He was part of a group of young Saharawis who took part in the uprising of the town on 17 November last. He was imprisoned in El Ayoun prison after having been tortured. (BERDHSO, SPS)
In El Ayoun, the driving licence and car belonging to Smaili Brahim, who had made his car available to Mohamed Daddach for driving around, were confiscated. The shop of another Saharawi citizen, Massaoud Boushab Elbaz, who had copied videos of the welcome of Mr Daddach in El Ayoun and Smara, was ransacked and the cassettes confiscated. According to the law, video material belongs to Moroccan cinematographic centres, the police can only intervene in cases of pornography. This measure is therefore clearly a political one. (BERDHSO)
The eight young Saharawis arrested by the Moroccan authorities on 1 and 2 December last in El Ayoun, were sentenced by the Magistrates' Court there. The verdict was not pronounced in a public session, the detainees were informed of it inside the civil prison. They were accused of having participated in demonstrations. Ahl Mayara Âalati and Samoudi Elmokhtar were acquitted. Sbaâi Mohamed and Elâayachi Mohamed were sentenced to a year in closed prison, Laghzal Essahel, Ezzayâar Elhassan, Sghir Âaziz and Elkhaldi Saîd to one and a half years of closed prison.
The Saharawi government authorised the passage of the Total-Dakar rally through its territory. The officer for external relations of TSO, the company which is organising the trial, Roger Kalmanovitz, met the Minister of Defence, Mohamed Lamine Bouhali in the Saharawi refugee camps. The stage Tan-Tan-Zouerat, which crosses Western Sahara on 4 January, will be replaced by a simple liaison stage at night without any breaks. (agencies, statement by Western Sahara Alliance, Australia)
Mohamed ould Selma ould Rabani, born in 1983, was abducted in Smara by police, who continue to pursue alleged participants in demonstrations on 17 November, creating panic among young Saharawis. Consequently, several young people are in hiding or on the run, eight people arrived a few days ago in the refugee camps near Tindouf, others are trying to get to the Canary Islands.
El Ayoun - hunger strike
Scarcely 6 weeks after the liberation of Saharawi political prisoners and Mohamed Daddach, today there are again 23 political prisoners locked up in Agadir and El Ayoun, following demonstrations in El Ayoun (7.11) and in Smara (17.11). (See provisional list)
They started a hunger strike on 25 December in El Ayoun prison, which detainees in common law have joined. 131 people are taking part in this action. Seven people were transferred to the Hassan ben el Mehdi hospital in El Ayoun. In a statement, the hunger strikers denounced the abductions, disappearances, summary sentences of which they have been victim and have demanded their immediate release. Furthermore detainees in common law demand the revision of their sentences, denouncing inequality of treatment between Saharawis and Moroccans: the same offense carries a three month prison sentence in Casablanca or twelve months in Western Sahara. They all denounce the conditions of imprisonment. The prison of El Ayoun, designed for 200 persons, is at present housing over 700 detainees.(corr.)
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