WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

original french

WEEK 15

06.-12.04.2003

OCCUPIED TERRITORIES

08.04.03
Police officers, with a ladder, pull down the sign over the office of the Sahara branch of the Forum on Truth and Justice in El Ayoun.

08.04.03  
Tamek Ali Salem was informed in writing from the Moroccan Prime Minister, Dris Jettou, that he has been recognised as having the status of 'detainee of opinion' and that the Minister of Justice had received instructions to implement this decision.

08.04.03
Abduction - arrest
The Saharawi human rights activist and member of the Executive of the Sahara Branch of the  Forum for Truth and Justice, El Moussaoui Dkhil, was questioned at his place of work in Dakhla by three people in plain clothes. After a search of his house, he was taken and transferred in handcuffs in the public transport bus to El Ayoun where a secret police welcoming party awaited him at 2 am in the morning.
El Moussaoui, a teacher of mathematics, was a victim of forced disappearance in the early 90s and later moved by force to Morocco. He has been harassed on numerous occasions, holding back of his salary, interrogations etc. He worked in Dakhla as an educational adviser in the Ministry of National Education. His name had been cited in the context of charges against Bazaid and other activists. The Commissar head of service of the Renseignements Généraux, Hariz Elaarbi, a well-known torturer, had even threatened to wipe him out. (see also
scandalous judgments) (communiqué AFAPREDESA french)

09.04.03
Moussaoui's family having not been able to get any information about their son, lodged a complaint with the procurer, asking him to intervene. The Procurer General of the Court of Appeal of El Ayoun intervened and the family has been able to see Moussaoui Dkhil, who is at present incarcerated in the office of the Provincial Management of National Security in El Ayoun.

09.04.03
The Association of Families of Saharawi prisoners and disappeared (AFAPREDESA) condemns this new serious violation of rights and demands the Moroccan occupation authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally. AFAPREDESA launches an urgent appeal to human rights NGOs, to the UN, the EU and democratic governments to put an end to the persistent human rights abuses in the occupied territories of Western Sahara. (statement
french) (comunicado spanish)

11.04.03
Another abduction
Human rights activists Mohamed Daddach, Khaya Cheikh and H'mad Hamad went to the MINURSO headquarters in El Ayoun, invited to talk with the political adviser Mr Lacy Swing, the UN Secretary General's Special Representative for Western Sahara. When leaving the MINURSO HQ these three people were followed by DST vehicles and a police wagon. On arrival outside Daddach's house they were questioned by plain clothes policemen and taken by force to the Judicial Police in El Ayoun. Hamad's car was impounded. In the evening the 3 activists were released after having been interrogated, insulted and threatened by police officers who wanted to know the content of the talks with MINURSO.
In its statements of protest BIRDHSO pointed out that Morocco has been recently carrying out in a systematic manner acts of intimidation towards Saharawi human rights defenders. (Communiqué BIRDHSO
french) - (Communiqué AFAPREDESA french) - (Communiqué Association des Amis de la RASD french)

Daddach and Khaya Cheikh had been part of the delegation of 13 Saharawis from the territories under Moroccan occupation which had been prevented from travelling to Geneva for the Meeting of the Families of Disappeared Saharawis on 28, 29 and 30 March last. The meeting at the MINURSO HQ was probably related to this fact. Numerous protests have been sent to the Moroccan Government and the UN, including a petition signed by 116 members of the European Parliament.

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

09.04.03
Intergroup - Peace for the Saharawi People
The meeting of the Intergroup was devoted to the present human rights situation in the occupied territories in the presence of the President of AFAPREDESA, Abdeslam Omar, who presented the latest developments. Parliamentarians expressed their concern for the fate of Saharawi prisoners of conscience and the restrictions on free circulation suffered by the members of the Saharawi delegation of families of disappeared prevented by the Moroccan authorities from travelling to Geneva at the end of March.
A petition addressed to the Moroccan government was signed by over a hundred MEPs. It expresses the concern of the parliamentarians in the face of these abuses of rights and asks the Moroccan authorities to return the travel documents, tickets and documents confiscated from members of the Saharawi delegation kept in Morocco. (
petition engl)

Oral Questions
In question time in the plenary session of the Parliament several questions connected with the Western Sahara were put: Mrs Sauquillo Pérez del Arco: shortfall in humanitarian aid to the Saharawi population; Mrs González Álvarez: conflict in Western Sahara and putting the referendum in place; Mr. Carnero González: European position on the new version of the Baker plan for Western Sahara; Mrs Boudjenah: sentences and political prisoners in Western Sahara; Mr. Marset Campos: position of Europe on the peace plan in Western Sahara; Mrs Keßler: human rights and recent sentences in Western Sahara; Mr. Bautista Ojeda: Exploitation of natural resources in Western Sahara by Morocco, Mr. Eurig Wyn: Western Sahara and the United Nations convention on the Law of the Sea.

The current president of the Council, Mr. Giannitsis, reaffirmed the position of the Council of supporting the efforts of the United Nations to find a political solution based on self-determination of the Saharawi people. Concerning human rights, he declared himself very sensitive to this problem. He will find out about the prison conditions of Saharawi prisoners, welcomes the release of 100 prisoners of war by the Polisario Front but adds that there are still 1160 remaining who should be freed. According to Mr Giannitsis, the Council, under the treaty of association with Morocco, will do everything to make human rights respected in Western Sahara. It will intervene to get the ICRC to inquire into the cases of disappearance and invite the parties to cooperate fully. Concerning humanitarian aid, it renews the commitment of Europe to continue with it.

MOROCCO

06.03.03
Medias
Abdellah Zaâzaâ, Moroccan dissident who has spent several years of his life in prison, in an interview with a Catalan paper Avui:" I continue to defend the right to self-determination of the Saharawis, as I defend self-determination of all peoples and also that of the Moroccan people. To my knowledge, noone has ever allowed the Saharawis to say freely whether they want to be Moroccans or not".

04.04.03
Summoned on instructions to the seat of the criminal brigade of Rabat, the director of two papers Demain and Doumane, Ali Lmbrabet, was interrogated for several hours on different matters, such as the interview of Abdellah Zaâzaâ reprinted from Avui. (tel quel)

HUMAN RIGHTS

04.04.03
59th session of the UN Human rights commission
Point 09: The question of attacks on human rights and fundamental liberties, wherever they happen in the world.
The International Movement of Youth and Students for the United Nations (ISMUN) drew attention to the gravity of the human rights abuses in Western Sahara and on the repressive nature of the Moroccan regime. According to Ismun, the authorities of this country have built terror into a principle of the state in the territories of Western Sahara, and continue to violate, with complete impunity, international human rights conventions. Ismun asks the United Nations to set up mechanisms for taking concrete action to make fundamental rights to freedom and security recognised by all, in accordance with all the conventions in force, respected in Western Sahara.

COMING UP...

Cadiz: Del 14 al 20 de abril, exposición "El Sahara Occidental y su pueblo" organizada por la asociación AMAL ESPERANZA en Sala Caja San Fernando, calle Larga 91-93 Cádiz

INTERNET

NEW PUBLICATIONS
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