WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

original french

WEEKS 16 + 17

13.-26.04.2003

SADR

22.04.03
Visit to SADR of the interim President of the African Union Commission
The interim President of the African Union Commission, Amara Essy, was received at Chahid El Hafed by the Saharawi Prime Minister, Bouchraya Beyoun, to whom he handed a message intended for the President of the Republic, Mohamed Abdelaziz. Visiting the liberated territories of SADR, Mr Essy declared that the objective of his trip was "to have discussions with Saharawi officials about everything concerning the African Union" and "to hear from the mouth of Saharawi officials their comments" on the latest report of James Baker. For Mr Essy "there is no military solution" for the conflict, there must be a political solution allowing the Saharawi people to exercise "their right to self-determination". The African official expressed his conviction that SADR was disposed to contribute to the efforts of the UN and the AU towards the decolonisation of Western Sahara on the basis of the Peace Plan. (SPS)

OCCUPIED TERRITORIES

22.03.03
Death in jail
In a statement, the family of Laiti Ramdan, who died in the civil prison of El Ayoun, accuse the prison authorities of negligence which caused the death of their son. They ask for a fair and impartial inquiry to be held to shed light on all the circumstances of this death and refuse, while waiting for it, to recover the mortal remains. Laiti Ramadan, a common law prisoner, who was serving a sentence of one year in the "black prison", did not have access to necessary medical care. His family could not get medicines to him except with great difficulty. He was admitted on 20 March to the Hassan El Mehdi hospital in a comatose state and died the next day from renal failure according to the medical certificates. (communiqué
French)

17.04.03
Threats of dissolution
A procedure was opened against the Sahara section of the Forum Vérité et Justice (Forum for Truth and Justice). The criminal investigation department lodged with the court of first instance in El Ayoun an application for dissolution of the section. Moutik Lahoussine, its president and member of the national executive, was summoned to appear on 23 April 2003 by the court. The request for dissolution invokes as breaches of the law, acts such as disturbing public order, incitement to demonstrate without authorisation and other acts of a nature to attack the territorial integrity of the country, such as relations with "foreign parties, international bodies and organisations hostile to Morocco." The trial was postponed until 7 May. Two Spanish observers were present to attend the deliberations.

Reactions:

23.04.03
Trial
The sentencing of Zein Saya, political prisoner arrested on 05.01.03, was postponed until 21 May.(corr.)

REFERENDUM

14.04.03
Algeria-Mauritania
At the end of a meeting in Algiers between a Mauritanian parliamentary delegation and its Algerian counterpart, the members of parliament emphasised in a statement, the need to "find a just and peaceful solution to the question of Western Sahara, in accordance with the decisions of international law and the Houston Agreement". (SPS)

16.04.03
Algeria
Concerning the question of Western Sahara, the Algerian President Bouteflika reaffirmed that Algeria's position is a position of principle which "has not changed". "Any proposal which goes in the direction of free expression of the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people can only win the approval of Algeria", he reaffirmed in an interview with the Algerian daily, Jeune Indépendant. (
L'Expression)

17.04.03
Algeria-Mauritania
The Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdelaziz Belkhadem, affirmed in Nouakchott that "the positions of Algeria and Mauritania are identical on the conflict in Western Sahara", reports the Algerian daily "Le Jeune indépendant". "Our position is a position of principle, namely the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination, respect of the Houston Agreement and international law, he went on to explain. (SPS)

21.04.03
Russia
The spokesperson of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alexander Lakovenko, affirmed that his country remains attached to a solution of the conflict in Western Sahara under the aegis of the UN and on the basis of the Settlement Plan operating in the territory since 1991. "At the same time we are ready to examine any other variations on a political settlement of this problem, which would be accepted of their own free will by the parties engaged in this old conflict", declared Mr Lakovenko. (SPS)

21.04.03
Angola
Joao Bernardo de Miranda, Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Republic of Angola, reaffirmed during an interview with M'hamed Khaddad, member of the leadership of the Polisario Front and Saharawi coordinator with MINURSO, the support of his country for the implementation of the UN resolutions in favour of the inalienable rights of the Saharawi people to self-determination and the settlement plan of the United Nations.

MOROCCO

17.04.03
The colloquium on Western Sahara organised by the collective "Maghreb Sahara", which brings together members of Moroccan civil society has been cancelled. It should have been held on 19-20 April in Casablanca.

21.04.03
Ali Lmrabet, director of two Moroccan weeklies, Demain Magazine and Doumane, is summoned on 7 May to appear before a tribunal in Rabat to answer to various offences. Apart from "insult to the person of the King", the Public Prosecutor of Rabat made the charges of attacks on the "monarchic regime" and on the "territorial integrity" of the kingdom, Mr Lmrabet indicated. The penalties liable to be incurred, which are detailed in the notification to appear, can go from "3 to 5 years imprisonment" and "from 10,000 to 100,000 dirhams (from 1,000 to 10,000 euros)" in fines. (AFP)

HUMAN RIGHTS

14.04.03
59th session of the Commission on Human Rights, Geneva
By a resolution concerning the question of Western Sahara (
E/CN.4/2003/L.11 chap. V), adopted without a vote, the Commission of human rights engages Morocco and the POLISARIO Front to implement scrupulously and faithfully all the measures proposed by the Secretary General for the identification of voters and the procedures of appeals. It asks the two parties immediately to continue to cooperate with the Secretary General and his Personal Envoy in order to arrive at a mutually acceptable political solution to the dispute.

The Commission invites the parties to cooperate with the International Committee of the Red Cross in its efforts to settle the problem of the fate of disappeared persons, and enjoins them to honour the obligation which is incumbent upon them in virtue of international humanitarian law, to liberate without any further delay all persons held on both sides since the beginning of the conflict.

14.04.03
Netherlands
A member of the leadership of the Dutch Foundation for self-determination in Western Sahara met the coordinator of human rights in the Dutch government and the head of the North African department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The meeting was devoted to attacks on human rights in the territories occupied by Morocco and the way in which the Netherlands government could help make these rights respected.

COMING UP

20.05.1973 -20.05.2003
30e Anniversary of the Polisario Front
Festivities in the refugee camps:
program and charter flights from Madrid.

Moers, Deutschland
32. Internationaler New Jazz Festival Moers, 6.-9. Juni 2003.
Samstag 07.06.03, 19:45: Mariem Hassan & Leyoad - West Sahara

INTERNET

Nachrichten aus der Westsahara (Website von Günter Peischl von der Donaustädter Sozial und Entwicklungshilfe, Oestereich)

NEW PUBLICATIONS
[External links to newspapers may not be valid after some days because the servers are restarted]

Français

Les dépêches, articles, etc, sont accessibles aux non-abonnés sur Sahara-Info, liste de courrier (français et espagnol): http://es.groups.yahoo.com/group/sahara-info/messages

English

English publications on Sahara Update mailinglist: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sahara-update/messages

Castellano

Todos los despachos, articulos de prensa, etc, son acessible por no-abonados en Sahara-Info, lista de correo (castellano y francés): http://es.groups.yahoo.com/group/sahara-info/messages

Noticias de prensa, Recopilación semanal de todos los articulos de la prensa de España: http://www.nodo50.org/labarored/interpueblos/Sahara/

Deutsch

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