WESTERN SAHARA - NEWS

WEEKS 33-34 : 13.08.-26.08.2006

original french

SADR

11-12.08.06, Support
A delegation from the ANC (South African National Congress), visited the refugee camps. “We will stay by your side until the final victory”, the secretary general, Kgalame Mothlante, affirmed in a speech given in the wilaya of Smara. The Saharawi President, receiving Mothlante, declared that the recognition of SADR by South Africa constituted “an fitting response  to Morocco’s procrastination, to its intransigence and its refusal to subscribe to international law”. Mothlante, making allusion to the activists in the Saharawi intifada in the occupied territories, declared: “You are not alone, they cannot isolate you, we are at your side... You are very close to victory”.
In a joint statement, the ANC and the Polisario Front called on the Moroccan government to “withdraw its occupying forces from Saharawi territory and to respect the sovereignty of the Saharawi Republic defined by its internationally recognised borders”. The  two movements condemned “the repressive practices of the Moroccan forces of occupation” and invited the United Nations to “intervene to protect Saharawi civilians in the occupied territories”. They also signed a joint plan of action. [Joint statement – English original]

12.08.06, Cambodia
The Kingdom of Cambodia will no longer recognise SADR. That’s what the agency MAP claims, at the end of talks in Phnom Penh between the Moroccan minister delegate for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Taïb Fassi Fihri and the Cambodian Prime Minister, Hun Sen, but it is not mentioned in the statement published on the official site of the Kingdom of Cambodia. OCCUPIED TERRITORIES AND SOUTH MOROCCO

El Ayoun
Demonstrations, followed by police interventions, arrests, sentences, beatings and injuries and destruction of homes continue. Between 9 and 12 August, a dozen people were questioned. One of them was later abandoned 20 km from the town. Saharawi human rights activists, ElWali Ameidan and Jamal ElHousseini were tortured and threatened with being burnt alive. [details]
The well-known trades unionist, Mohamed Jaïm was brutally attacked outside the offices of MINURSO during a demonstration. [photos]

Foum ElOued
Demonstrations continue regularly both in the village of Foum ElOued and on the nearby beach. Two Saharawi activists, arrested during the demonstration on 12 August, were put into the Black Prison on the orders of the instructing magistrate, Targui Ali ould Sid Ammou, brother of the former Saharawi political detainee, Targui Malainine, and Laaraibi Mohamed Ali ould Lahoussine. At the end of an ultra-rapid procedure they were sentenced on 16 August, only 24 hours after they were imprisoned, to two months in prison and a fine of 1000 dirhams.

Hunger strikes
For the third time, Saharawi political detainees in the Black Prison observed a 48-hour hunger strike on 15 and 16 August in protest at their conditions of detention. Those from the prisons of Inezegane and Aït Melloul did likewise for 24 hours on 11 August, in solidarity with Salek Lassiri and Saleh Amidan, who have been pursuing a hunger strike since 26 July in the Moroccan prison of Kenitra and with Loumadi Mohamed, on hunger strike since 7 August in the same prison, as well as with “our families in Smara, El Ayoun, Tan Tan, Assa, Mhamid ElGhizlan and Ifni, who have been victim to serious human rights abuses”. [updated list of prisoners]


Further demonstrations are reported on 10, handing out of flags and leaflets at Lemseïed, Tan Tan and Tighmert in Southern Morocco.

14.08.06, Dakhla
During the celebration of the 27th anniversary of the annexation of Dakhla by Morocco,  El Mami ould Taleb Omar burst in upon the regional meeting of officialdom in the town hall, calling out slogans for independence. He was immediately overcome and beaten copiously. Nothing more is known, but the quarters of Akseikisat and Oum Tounsi were covered in leaflets and flags on the occasion of this anniversary.

17.08.06, appeal
The Association of Saharawi Families and Disappeared (AFAPREDESA) and the Union of Saharawi Lawyers (UJS) launched an “urgent appeal” to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Human Rights, Hina Jilani, to “dispatch international commissions of inquiry into the occupied territories of Western Sahara”.

24/25.08.06
Three Saharawi political prisoners were victims in the Black Prison of El Ayoun of an assassination attempt on the part of co-detainees in common law. They are: Mohamed Salem Mohamed Yeslem Bahaha, N° d'écrou (prisoner number) 27477, Mohamed Mustapha Mouloud Gemid/Ghamid Elhaj, N° d'écrou 27476, and Abdeslam Kasem Dida, N° d'écrou 27478, who were arrested in Smara on 18.07.06.[SPS]

REFERENDUM

UN Special Representative for Western Sahara
Francesco Bastagli, appointed in August 2005 (weeks 31/32 2005), has come to the end of his mandate. On 23 August, he took his leave from the Saharawi authorities, expressing his regret at leaving office while “the Saharawi conflict remains open at the political level”. Mr. Bastagli displayed his confidence in the will of the Saharawi people to support the efforts of the United Nations for self-determination and for a satisfactory solution to the conflict in Western Sahara.

MOROCCO

12.08.06, plans for a coup d'Etat
Sackings and transfers have been taking place in the Moroccan army and the DGST, the Moroccan secret services, following the arrest of five members of the armed forces, presumed members of a terrorist cell of 44 people dismantled on 7 August last. This cell was plotting to overturn the regime and install an Islamic state. It is believed that those arrested belonged to the air force. A major colonel in Casablanca and General Belbachir, who headed the management of military security, were dismissed. His department has been dissolved. It is the Royal Gendarmerie which, at the head of the 5th department, is in charge, as in the past, of supervising the army. It is directed by General Benslimane. [El Pais, 14.08.06] [MAP engl. 07.08.06]

Intrigues and manipulations
Various Moroccan, Spanish and French newspapers, have published an incredible story full of contradictions, intrigues and manipulations, touching Spanish-Moroccan and French-Moroccan relations, through the adventures of a former agent of the Moroccan services.
Hicham Bouchti, a Moroccan citizen, lodged an asylum claim in August 2005 in Spain. This individual had served in the Moroccan auxiliary forces (in charge of supervising the army) in 2000-2001 and in the "deuxième bureau" of the Royal Army Forces from 2001 to 2003, where he was in charge of infiltrating Islamic circles. He was sentenced to two years’ prison in January 2003 by a military tribunal for fraud or revelation of military secrets, according to sources. When he came out of prison, finding no work, he is believed to have decided to go to Spain. This is the version which he gave to two Moroccan weeklies, close to the powers, to whom he presented himself in July of this year on his return to Morocco.[Maroc-Hebdo International, No 708]
His request for asylum is refused, but Bouchti is not turned back. He apparently then met, at a refugee centre in Madrid, Aïcha Ramdane, the wife of Tamek who put him in touch with Ali Lmrabet, a Spanish Moroccan journalist with El Mundo. He published an interview with Bouchti on 3 February 2006, containing revelations, partly already known, on the king and the royal family. [El Mundo, 03.02.06]
Back in Morocco, Bouchti “reveals” in a jumble that according to him Aïcha and Lmrabet are agents working for Spain, that he was used by the Spanish secret service to become the spokesman of the movement of free Moroccan officers and was dragged into a Franco-Spanish conspiracy to eliminate Lmrabet and Basri. Just that! [MHI 709]
For Lmrabet
and the daily El Mundo, [see chap. 9 of Sahara-Info of 27.07.06] , Bouchti is a Moroccan agent used both by the Spanish and the French services to eliminate him. He has support from the highest level in Morocco. The names of Spanish, French and Moroccan agents are cited by the newspaper.
The court of Casablanca has not bothered Bouchti, but decided instead on an inquiry into the Spanish services and El Mundo for trying to destabilise Morocco... [MAP engl]
For the journalist Pedro Canales [La Razon, in Sahara-Info, 31.07.06, chap. 6] the manipulation is the work of a sector of the Moroccan regime favourable to the interests of France, which wants to torpedo the influence of Spain in Morocco. For Jeune Afrique, on the contrary, the French weekly known for its position close to the Makhzen, the whole affair is due to a manipulation of the pro-Polisario Spanish press... [J.A. 30.07.06]

SOLIDARITY

11.08.06
The officers of the Italian solidarity association from Emilia Romagna Jaima Saharaoui, accompanied by a group of 30 Saharawi children, were received by the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napoletano.

15.08.-17.09.06,  Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
La Sala de Arte de CajaCanarias en Las Palmas de Gran Canaria acoge del 15 de agosto al 17 de septiembre la exposición Memoria del Sáhara, obra del periodista y reportero gráfico José Luis de Pablos.

16.08.06, México, Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia ENAH
En el marco de las Segundas Jornadas de Antropología Visual se presento el documenta "Voces del Sahara" di Javier Pérez Solano y Jesús Álvarez Razo seguido con una conferencia acerca de la lucha del pueblo saharaui, en la que el señor Ahmed Mulay Ali pedio a todos los amantes de la paz y la justicia su grano de arena para hacer llegar la paz al norte de África mediante la aplicación del plan de paz aceptado por la comunidad internacional y rechazado por Marruecos que tiene un apoyo en Francia a la que no le interesa la existencia de un estado hispano parlante en su zona de influencia. Así como intervinieron varias personalidades de la asociación y el acto fue moderado por Alma Najera miembro de la asociación y estudiante de la ENAH.

18.08.06, La lucha saharaui en el canal 22
Projeccion del documental "Laila" realizado por la actriz Silvia Munt, ganador de premio Goya en España, acompañado por una entrevista del señor Ahmed Mulay Ali Ministro Consejero Encargado de negocios de la Republica Saharaui en México.

18-27.08.06, Exposición en la Fototeca de Veracruz
Exposición fotográfica "Imágenes del Sahara: el camino al Leyuad" del fotógrafo Ricardo Ramírez Arriola, en el marco del XIII Festival Internacional Afrocaribeño.[El Sol de México]
Las imágenes incluidas en esta exposición que se exhibirá también en Xalapa, Veracruz, fueron tomadas en marzo de este año durante un viaje a los campamentos de refugiados cerca de Tinduf, Argelia y a Leyuad en República Árabe Saharaui Democrática. El autor tomó como punto de partida para esta exposición el proverbio saharaui "Lemrua tespeg etfagrich" (La bondad antes que la valentía). Parte de esta exposición puede verse.

COMING UP...

02.09.06, Bilbao: manifestacion Sahara: no hay futuro sin la autodeterminacion. Hora: 12.30, lugar: Plaza el arenal. Convoca: Coordinadora Euskadi-Sahara 27 de febrero.

MARIEM HASSAN
02.09.06, Madrid, I Festival Solidario de Músicas del Mundo Ciempozuelos global, Plaza de Toros (C/ Enrique Granados s/n) 23:00
PRÓXIMOS CONCIERTOS:
20 septiembre: Munich (Alemania)
22 septiembre: Södra Teatern, Estocolmo (Suecia)
21 octubre: Teatro Principal, Burgos
4 noviembre: Fira de la Mediterranía, Manresa
Infos: NUBENEGRA

INTERNET

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- 2am – a downpour in the middle of the desert, 'So my mother saved us' – an account from a young Saharan girl, Daniela Cavini, Relief web, 24.08.06.

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Deutsch

Erholung vom vergessenen Krieg. 50 Grad Hitze, Wasserknappheit und Krankheit prägen den Alltag in den Flüchtlingslagern der Westsahara. Das Lagerleben in der Sahara ist kein Kinderspiel, Stefan Melichar, Wiener Zeitung, 23.08.06.

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