WESTERN SAHARA - NEWS

WEEKS 35-36 : 28.08.-10.09.2005

original french

 

SADR

27.08.05, UN
The President of the Saharawi Republic sent another letter to Kofi Annan to ask him firstly to undertake to liberate the Saharawi political prisoners onhunger strike, but also to point out that "supplementary efforts must stillbe made, urgently, to make Morocco conform with international law." [SPS]

30.08.05, EU
Mohamed Abdelaziz also sent a letter to Mr. Tony Blair, as the currentpresident of the European Union, to ask for greater involvement by the EU inthe decolonization of Western Sahara, in the release of Saharawi politicalprisoners and on the pillage of the wealth of the country.
Similar letters have already been sent to the Spanish Prime Minister, JoséLuis Rodriguez Zapatero, the American President, George W Bush, to thecurrent president of the AU, Olesegun Obasanjo, and to the UN SG, KofiAnnan. [SPS]

01-07.09.05, Scandinavia
The Saharawi coordinator with MINURSO, Mhamed Khadad, is received inStockholm by the Foreign Affairs minister of the Kingdom of Sweden, MrsLaila Freivalds. In the Swedish parliament, Mr. Khadad met MPs from theGreens, Social Democrats, Liberal and Left parties. Mr Khaddad earlier tookpart in Norway in a seminar on human rights in Western Sahara organised inOslo. The Saharawi diplomat expressed his views on the "colonial practicesof Morocco". He also met representatives of political parties and wasreceived at the Norwegian Foreign Affairs ministry. On 7 September he metthe Finnish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Erkki Tuomioja, in Helsinki. [SPS]

OCCUPIED TERRITORIES AND SOUTH MOROCCO

Chronology of events

22.08.05
Two Saharawi political prisoners, Toubbali Lhafd and Baba Laarabi stoppedtheir hunger strike, following pressure from Moroccan doctors and DST(secret police) agents.

24.08.05
The Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH) calls on Rabat to open adialogue with the 37 Saharawi political prisoners on hunger strike to "savetheir lives" at risk. The AMDH complained of the ban on prison visits forthe hunger strikers in El Ayoun, which a delegation from the organisationhad planned.

27.08.05
Hamad Hmad, imprisoned in the Black Prison of El Ayoun, sent a letter to theSpanish minister for Foreign Affairs, to remind him of the situation in theoccupied territories, to ask him to intervene to free the Saharawi politicalprisoners and to put an end to the repression against the Saharawipopulation. [
español]

27.08.05
Mohammed Daddach writes to the Norwegian Prime Minister in the same vein.

27.08.05
Hammadi El Karsha, Bachir Yaya and El Moussaouie Sidi Ahmed are transferredto the El Ayoun hospital, where doctors tried without success to force feedthem.

28.08.05
Pro-independentist gathering at Foum El-Oued, the beach of El Ayoun,situated 25 km from the town. A Saharawi flag was flown on an electric wire.Two young men, Mohamed Salem Kharaj and Brahim, known as Kourbina, weretaken in, interrogated and beaten at El Ayoun police station.

29.08.05
The Moroccan Association for Human Rights, the Moroccan Organisation forHuman Rights and the Moroccan Forum for Truth and Justice, ask "withinsistence" for "urgent" intervention by the Minister for Justice "in orderto open direct talks with the hunger strikers with the aim of finding asolution to their grievances and to save their lives and health."The AMDH talks to 29 hunger strikers out of the 37 prisoners of conscience.[
Una ONG marroquí pide diálogo ante el deterioro de la salud de los presos saharauis en huelga de hambre, EFE/ El Mundo 30.08.05] [Morocco urged to talk to W.Sahara hunger strikers, Souhail Karam, Reuters, 29.08.05]

Interviews with Tamek
Under the title "I'm afraid of being assassinated without being able todefend myself", the Spanish daily El Mundo publishes an interview with AliSalem Tamek given to Ali Lmrabet over the telephone. [
«Tengo miedo de que me maten sin que pueda defenderme», El Mundo 29.08.05]
This interview earns him reprisals afterwards: Tamek is put in an isolationwing of the Aït Melloul penitentiary, under constant close surveillance by aprison official. [
Article de Ali Lmrabet en espagnol]
Another interview with Ali Salem Tamek appears in the Algerian Arab languagedaily, El Khabar.

30.08.05
AMDH president, Amin Abdelhamid, declares that the health of certain hungerstrikers has worsened and hopes that the Minister for Justice will openimmediate talks with them.

Saharawi political prisoners, Abdellah Lekhfawni and Ali Elaagdadi inKenitra and Tiznit join the hunger strike.

31.08.05, El Ayoun: Ban on family visits for prisoners.
GUS agents prohibited families of the Saharawi political prisoners on hungerstrike from seeing their relatives. Two families, those of Bel-la Mohamedand Hassanna Elhairache, who were authorised to enter the prison, refusedout of solidarity with the others. Police forces then intervened violentlyto disperse the families who were protesting. [corr.]

The Moroccan Minister for Justice describes the Saharawi detainees' hungerstrike as "imaginary". All the prisoners, the statement adds, "are in a goodstate of health and benefit from all the rights" given under the law. TheMinster admits for the first time that the prisoners are really politicalprisoners: "the demands (of these prisoners) have no connection with theconditions of their detention but are rather of a political nature sincethey are calling for separatism and are involved in crimes for which theyhave been prosecuted. [AP]

01.09.05, 24th day of hunger strike
The Saharawi refugees in the camps near Tindouf as well as civilians andactivists in the liberated zones observe a 24 hour fast in solidarity withthe Saharawi political prisoners in the occupied territories. The Saharawicommunity in France joins in this action. [SPS]

Two demonstrations were organised in El Ayoun as a token of solidarity withthe Saharawi political prisoners and to call for a referendum ofself-determination for the Saharawi people. [SPS]

Public statement by the lawyers defending the 4 prisoners.
The four lawyers for the defense were not allowed, on trivial pretexts, tovisit the four human rights activists incarcerated in Oukacha prison inCasablanca. They called the allegations of the Moroccan Minister for Justiceconcerning the hunger strike "a real denial of justice". The state of healthof the detainees on hunger strike has worsened, they became "human rags"only capable of moving with great difficulty. The lawyers denounce theinhuman conditions of detention which are contrary to the law. They launch an appeal in favour of respect for law and a fair sentence. [
english/SPS] [communiqué] [español/SPS] [original arabic]

02.09.05, 25th day of hunger strike
Three strikers decide not to drink any more sweetened water, Aalouat Sidi Mohamed (26141), El Karsha Hammadi (46140) and Yaya Bachir(26135). The state of health of the other strikers gets worse. Lidri can nolonger move his hands or walk, he is presenting difficulties with sensationdue the torture he underwent. Noumria complains of headaches and hearttrouble, Messaoud of back pain and El-Moutawakil from digestive trouble.Visits are still forbidden.

The Saharawi Minister for Health, Boullahi Siid, asks for "medical expertisefrom a UN commission", to get to grips with the state of health of the 37Saharawi political prisoners.

04.09.05
In an open letter Ali Salem Tamek calls on Moroccan political circles. [
full text SPS] [texto completo SPS]2 [texte complet SPS]

"The Secretariat of the Moroccan party Annahj Addimocrati draws attention tothe deteriorating state of health of the Saharawi political prisoners onhunger strike in the prisons of El Ayoun, Aït Melloul and Oukacha inCasablanca and calls for the immediate release as well as an end to judicialprocesses against all the Saharawi prisoners", a statement from thisMoroccan political party points out. [SPS]

05.09.05, 28th day of the strike
Statement from the Collective of Saharawi Human Rights defenders "OccupiedTerritories of Western Sahara".

President Mohamed Abdelaziz begs for the intervention of the president ofthe Commission of the African Union to release the Saharawi politicalprisoners. [SPS]

The human rights activist, Hmad Hammad, calls on the Spanish Prime Minister,Zapatero to intervene in favour of the Saharawi political prisoners. [SPS]

The state of health of the strikers gets worse, several are taken tohospital but refuse care.

El Ayoun: Over 150 Saharawi demonstrated in the Maatallah quarter. TheMoroccan police, as usual, intervened violently. There were many wounded andmany arrests.

Casablanca: Oukacha prison management still forbids the families to visittheir relatives.

Asrir-Goulimine: Saharawis from this locality situated 12 km from Goulimine(southern Morocco) organised a peaceful march to Goulimine, carrying photosof Saharawi activists in prison, and banners for the right toself-determination and for the independence of Western Sahara. The march wasstopped by the police forces at the entrance to Goulimine.

06.09.05
Prisoners, Mohamed Tahlil and Omar Eddaoudi lost consciousness, they weretaken to hospital where they refused any treatment. [corr.]

07.09.05, 30th day of hunger strike
Communiqué de l'Association française des Amis de la RASD (AARASD)

The President of the Saharawi Republic, Mohamed Abdelaziz, calls for theintervention of his South African counterpart, President Tabo Mbeki, withRabat to release the 37 Saharawi political prisoners. [SPS]

A delegation from the autonomous community of Navarre includingparliamentarians and representatives of NGOs, who wanted to visit El Ayounto offer support to the Saharawi population in revolt, and demand therespect of human rights, was not able to embark at Las Palmas. The aviationcompany, Binter, refused to sell them tickets from Las Palmas to El Ayoun.

08.09.05, 31st day of strike
The state of health of the Saharawi political prisoners continues to getworse, both for Ali Salem Tamek as for Aminatou Haidar, unable to move orspeak, but who refuses consultations and care from the Moroccan healthservices. The common law women prisoners in the Black Prison observed a24-hour fast in solidarity with Aminatou and the other Saharawi prisoners.They were insulted and punished by the director.

Surveillance equipment was installed in Ali Salem Tamek's cell in Aït Melloul.

The European parliamentary intergroup for Western Sahara calls on Morocco torelease the 37 Saharawi political prisoners without any further delay anddemands from the international community its intervention to settle theconflict in Western Sahara.[español]

New demonstration for the release of Saharawi political detainees in El Ayoun. The demonstrators carry SADR flags and chant slogans in favour ofthe right of the Saharawi people for self-determination.

The Moroccan authorities repressed this demonstration with force, as usual,and two people, Saidi Hmoudi and El Moussawi Ahmed Val, were arrested.

Amnesty International starts a campaign of sending letters to the MoroccanMinister for Justice for the detained Saharawi human rights defenders. [french]
You can sign and send a letter on line in Spanish at the following address:
http://www.es.amnesty.org/actua/sahara_sep05/

09.09.05
The Polisario representative at the UN Ahmed Boukhari, was received in NewYork by the deputy Secretary General of the UN in charge of peace-keepingoperations, Jean-Marie Guehenno, to whom he handed a letter for Kofi Annan,relating to the situation of the Saharawi political prisoners whose "stateof health is deteriorating seriously".

REFERENDUM

25.08.05
The Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Erkki Tuomioja, published on hisinternet site an item on "one of the longest conflicts and the mostforgotten", noting that "every attempt at mediation has fallen through dueto Morocco's refusal to accept any proposal for peace which includes theoption of independence." The Minister considers that the present momentshould be used by the EU to try to resolve the question of the disappearedand the prisoners in Western Sahara. [
Press Release Finnish Friends of Western Sahara 01.09.05] [original Suomi: Ei unohdeta Länsi-Saharaa by Erkki Tuomioja, 25.08.05]

01.09.05
The Danish colonel, Kurt Mosgaard has been appointed as head of the militarycomponent of MINURSO. He will have the title of Division General during thisperiod.

Peter Van Walsum, the new personal envoy of Kofi Annan will soon start atour of the Maghreb region, Morocco, Algeria, SADR, beginning in Mauritania.[agencies]

MAURITANIA

26.08.05
According to a Moroccan daily the new Mauritanian Minister for ForeignAffairs is said to have declared on the Qatari TV channel Al Jazeera, that:" Mauritania maintains the position which it has always held concerning thequestion of the Sahara".

SOLIDARITY

03.08.05
The
Francisca Mateos Foundation "Struggle for Peace", meeting inextraordinary session in Madrid, awarded its annual prize for 2004 toAminatou Haidar. The beneficiaries in 2002 were Mordechai Vanunu and in2003 sub-commander Marcos for the EZLN/ Mexico.

COMING UP...

- Sweden: Demonstration Vid Marockos ambassad iStockholm Kungsholmstorg - HantverkargatanOnsdag, 14 sept 2005 kl 17.00

- New documentary on Western Sahara "Western Sahara, Africa's last colony"will showcase at the Spotlight on Documentaries section of the 27thIndependent Film Project Market and Conference on the 22nd of September inNew York city. To support the project or find out more, please contact: JoMarie Fecci, Producer/Director at 1.917.842.9027,jomarie[at]paristempo.com or go to http://www.paristempo.com/sahara.html

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