WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

original french

WEEK 01

29.12.02.-04.01.03

 

SADR

30.12.02
National Secretariat
The executive body of the Polisario Front studied the development of the situation on both national and international levels. Foreseeing the visit of James Baker, it expressed the hope that on this occasion a timetable could be fixed for the holding of the referendum. It appealed to the French government to adopt a really neutral position, and to Spain to make a real effort to restore the legitimate rights of the Saharawi people. The National Secretariat finished by welcoming the award of the 2002 Rafto Prize for human rights to Mohamed Daddach.(SPS
Engl)

OCCUPIED TERRITORIES

26.12.02
The prison management of the penitentiary complex at Rabat assigns an individual cell to Tamek, who ends his hunger strike which started on 23.12.

27.12.02
Saharawi students in Rabat organise a sit-in outside the prison management office to call for the release of all Saharawi political detainees and to denounce the inhuman and degrading conditions in which these detainees are held.

28.12.02
Media
Tamek, in interviews with two Moroccan Arab language weeklies, Alayam and Annahar, recalls his commitment to self-determination for the Saharawi people and calls for his release as well as liberation for the other political detainees. During the weekly television program "The press has its opinion" on the Moroccan channel 2M, devoted to the analysis of events in 2002, a journalist refers twice to the case of Tamek, describing him as a political prisoner.

30.12.02
Political prisoners
The
provisional list of Saharawi political prisoners has been brought up to date with the addition of Mohamed-Mouloud Khalihenna Salma, born on 27.03.82 in El Ayoun, arrested on 30 May after the "demonstration of the hooded ones (les cagoulés sahraouis)" on 17 May (see week 21-22 2002) and sentenced to four years'imprisonment. (corr.)

01.01.03
Sentence
The military Tribunal of Rabat sentences a young Saharawi, Sidi Heiba Hbibi, 16 years old, to one year in prison. He was accused of having placed a mine in front of a military convoy of the Moroccan occupying forces. (SPS, 28.12.02)
The circumstances of the arrest, the charges and the sentencing of this young shepherd remain mysterious. Everything happened very fast and very quietly. The accused, who was guarding his flock in the region of Ras El Khanfra, was apparently arrested on 24 September by the army near the place where a mine exploded under a military vehicle between Abatieh and Smara. He was accused of having placed the mine on the road. The length of legal custody was not respected, the public ministry appointed a lawyer to act and the trial took place without the knowledge of human rights organisations. The detainee is at present in a juvenile prison in Salé. (Assabah N°849).
Ras el Khanfra was the theatre of important battles between the Polisario Front and the Moroccan army, the region remains studded with mines, which can change place in the moving dunes. The roads are officially reliable, but any departure from the road or track is extremely dangerous.

01.01.03
Assa
The Saharawi community in this oasis in Southern Morocco expresed its solidarity with its fellow-citizen Tamek and all Saharawi political prisoners by organising an action day with an information stand and a sit-in. The numerous participants in the demonstration, which took place in the presence of several members of close family, demanded the release of Tamek and all Saharawi political prisoners as well as the truth about disappeared Saharawis. Many telephone messages were broadcast by loud-speaker, coming from different Saharawi human rights NGOs, from the Forum for Truth and Justice, from Daddach and even from Tamek himself in the depths of his prison. A planned telephone link-up with BIRDHSO was prevented from happening by technical reasons. (corr.)

REFERENDUM

31.12.02
According to the Spanish Ambassador at the UN Inocencio Arias, James Baker, on his forthcoming tour of the Maghreb in mid-January, will present a new proposal for a solution to the parties. They will then need time to examine it, which will entail an extension of the mandate of MINURSO. (La Vanguardia)

MOROCCO

28.12.02
Human rights activists Khadija Rouissi and Abdellilah Benabdeslam ended their hunger strike after obtaining their objective, the release of two of the three political "disappeared" in 2002, held at the headquarters of the D.S.T in Rabat, and the opening of an investigation into the third case.

COMING UP...

ALL OUR BEST WISHES FOR THE YEAR 2003

A year full of important dates !

• 28 January, from 17 to 20 h, Assemblée nationale française, à l'invitation de Daniel Paul, député de Seine Maritime: Sahara Occidental, un problème de décolonisation non résolu: quels enjeux ?. Débat organisé par l'Association française des Amis de la RASD et la représentation du Front Polisario en France.

• End January: UN Secretary General's report and decision of the Security Council on the extension of MINURSO's mandate.

• 24 February: Third edition of the Sahara Marathon, Sahara Caravan Team Run: (190 Km. in 4 days, from El Ayoun to Dakhla 4 x 42 km + 22 km) and Sahara Marathon Ultra Run: co-sponsored by the World Humanitarian Marathon & Ultra Marathon Foundation (individual, 190 Km in 3 days, from El Ayoun to Dakhla) deutsch - italiano - português.

• 27 February: 27th anniversary of the proclamation of SADR.

• 28 - 30 March 2003, Geneva: MEETING WITH THE FAMILIES OF DISAPPEARED SAHARAWIS.

Program
Friday 28 March: Talks at the UN
Saturday 29 March:
Gathering in memory of the disappeared in the Garden of
the Disappeared in Meyrin
Gathering outside the UN
Meeting-discussion on forced disappearance in Western Sahara: Auditoire des Droits de l'Homme Alexis Jaccard (University of Geneva)

Sunday 30 March: Meeting with families, followed by a meal.
Contact, enrolment, information: International Bureau for the respect of human rights in Western Sahara (Bureau International pour le Respect des Droits de l'Homme au Sahara Occidental - BIRDHSO):
birdhso@birdhso.org

• 10 May: 30th anniversary of the foundation of the Polisario Front

• exact date not yet fixed: 11th Congress of the Polisario Front

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