WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

original french

WEEK 48

24.-30.11.2002

OCCUPIED TERRITORIES

25.11.02
Smara: repression
Sit-ins have been taking place in the second town of Western Sahara in recent days. Unemployed graduates protested at unkept promises by the governor, a brutal intervention by the police resulted in one person getting wounded. On 19.11. a sit-in took place in support of the injured unemployed man and on 22 and 23.11 in support of a school girl mistreated by her teacher. High school students took an active part in these demonstrations. On 25.11.02 the administration of the high school called in the parents of the 18 pupils held responsible for these actions, they were informed of the disciplinary measures taken in regard to the pupils. Fiften of them were excluded from school for two weeks and the other three were sent down from the high school which is the only secondary establishment in the place. (corr., SPS)

26.11.02
Hunger strike
Salek Bazeid starts a hunger strike. Arrested on 24.09.02 with three other people, this member of the Forum for Truth and Justice, is still in custody at the civil prison of El Ayoun waiting for the date of his trial. (week
40/2002 )

Reminder: Nassiri Ahmed has also been on strike since 14.11.02.

27.11.02
Unfair trial - scandalous sentence
Nassiri Ahmed was sentenced by the court of El Ayoun to 18 months' imprisonment for using force against officers of the authority and disobeying orders of officers of the authority during riots on 17.11.01 in Smara. The accusations of burning a vehicle and other depredations were not upheld. The defence demonstrated the totally unfounded nature of all the accusations and even the witnesses called denied any implication of Nassiri in the events at Smara.
It should be pointed out that two Spanish women lawyers who attended the trial as observers were held for an hour on their arrival at the airport of El Ayoun and searched by male officers, which is contrary to the law.  (corr.)

29.11.02
Death following torture
A common law Saharawi prisoner Boucetta Mohamed Barka, known as Chaybani, DNI 59210 SH,  35 years old, held in the civil prison of El Ayoun, died on Thursday 28 November 2002.
According to the word of members of his family, his body carried marks of torture, multiple bruising and burns. When his body was returned to the family it was still handcuffed. It should be pointed out that on the last visit by his relatives to the prison, on Tuesday 26 November 2002, the victim was still in good health. Apparently he told his family that he was being subjected to daily torture sessions carried out probably by prison warders. The victim had been sentenced on 12 November 2002 to eight months' imprisonment for a minor offence. The family decided to lodge a complaint with the Procurer of the King at the Magistrate's Court of El Ayoun on Friday 29 November 2002, appealing to him to take the necessary measures in regard to this crime. (see
Informative Note )

28.11.02
Letter from the French Association of Friendship and Solidarity with the Peoples of Africa to the King of Morocco
In a letter sent to Mohamed VI with copies to the French Minister of Foreign Affairs and to President Jacques Chirac, AFASPA  protests about the reprisals to which members of the Sahara branch of the Forum for Truth and Justice are subjected because of their activities of defending human rights. Recalling that several of them are at present in prison and quoting the case of Moutik Lahoussine who is subject to a professional ban following his interview with the European parliamentary delegation last February, the Association demands the release of activists from the Forum of Truth and Justice and a stop to harrassment. (Letter
French)

REFERENDUM

28.11.02
Europe
In a
press relase entitled "Europe's commitment for a referendum over the self-determination of the Saharawis" issued on the occasion of her journey to the refugee camps close to Tindouf in Algeria, Margot Kessler, Member of the European Parliament and president of the intergroup "peace for the people of the Western Sahara" says : "Europe must enforce their commitment for the right of the Saharawis for a referendum".

28.11.02
The Netherlands
The Dutch Green Party (Groen Links) expressed its support for the struggle of the Saharawi people for self-determination and independence and promises to become an advocate pleading this "just" cause to national elected members and Dutch MEPs. (
SPS )

NORWAY

28.11.02
Norway: the company TGS-Nopec on the defensive
In October 2001 the Moroccan government signed licences for oil exploration off the coast of Western Sahara from Boujdour and Dakhla with the US company Kerr McGee and the French company TotalFinaElf. (week
40/2001 ) in violation of the undefined status of the territory. The Norwegian firm TGS-NOPEC was engaged to undertake preliminary seismic data acquisitions starting in June 2002. (week 24/2002).
The Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara supported by several parliamentarians and Norwegian organisations in an
open letter to shareholders asked TGS-Nopec to give up its involvement with Western Sahara, which violates international law.. This action became wider and municipalities, businesses and pension funds withdrew their investments in the company for ethical reasons. In a recent statement TGS-Nopec tries to reject these accusations and announces that its work off Western Sahara is 90% finished. (Statement)

SOLIDARITY

26.11.02
Norway
SAIH's local branch at the University in Trondheim declares in a resolution its unconditional support for the students of Western Sahara and UJSARIO. The Norwegian students organisation is deeply concerned about the deadlock of the current situation. As time goes by, the dream of independence is gradually eclipsed by the Moroccon strategy of exhaustion, they write.
In the view of SAIH, education is the gateway to social, economic and cultural liberation. SAIH therefore wants to express solidarity with the students of Western Sahara in their struggle for independence, a democratic and just society and human rights.

01.12.02
Norway
Norway Social Forum "Another world is possible", organize a Seminar "The case of occupied Western Sahara: Big power interests or international legality?" Speakers:
Pedro Pinto Leite, Secretary General of the International Platform of Jurists for East Timor (IPJET) and Member of Executive Council of the International Association of Jurists for Western Sahara (IAJUWS), Ronny Hansen, Coordinator of the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara and Executive Officer for International Affairs, Norwegian Humanist Association, Facilitator: Signe Aanby, President of the Norwegian Students' and Academics' International Assisitance Fund- SAIH

COMING UP...

Musica Saharaui

Mariem Hassan y las Mujeres saharauis gira de invierno 2002
Conciertos.
28 de noviembre: León -Teatro Emperador
3 de diciembre: Soria - Palacio de la Audiencia
12 de diciembre: Peñaranda de Bracamonte - Teatro Calderón
13 de diciembre: Zamora -Teatro Principal
14 de diciembre: Huercal - Overa
15 de diciembre: Burgos - Teatro Principal
19 de diciembre: Madrid - Suristán
20 de diciembre: Aranda de Duero - Casa de Cultura

Semana de sensibilidad con el Pueblo Saharaui en Granada.

10 - 14 diciembre 2002, Granada, Palacio de los Córdova, c/ Cuesta de Chápiz: "¿Hablamos del Sáhara?
Programa ver
agenda .

Cascina, Italia: Natale 2002 - Cena di solidarietá : Accendiamo luci nelle tende saharawi………

14.12.02, alle ore 20.00, presso il circolo A.R.C.I., Loc. San Sisto Al Pino.
Per coloro che vogliono partecipare è necessaria la prenotazione, che potrà essere effettuata entro il 10 Dicembre contattando il nr. 349/0594027 oppure il nr. 050/700346 (ore pasti) Saranno proiettate diapositive e video. Comitato Saharawi Cascina &endash; Circolo A.R.C.I. 690 V.le C. Comaschi, 48 &endash; Cascina (PI)

 

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