24 February 2013

Morocco: Trial of Gdeim Izik Detainees 'Provocative Step' Increases Tension in the Region, Says FM

Bir Lehlou — The Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Mohamed Salem Ould Salek considered, in a letter sent to the President of African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR), that trying 25 Saharawi political prisoners before a martial court and the sentences issued against them "another provocative step" by occupying power, highlighting that this step increases the tension and disturb the atmosphere needed for the direct negotiations overseen by the UN between the parties to the conflict; the Polisario Front and Morocco.

Head of the Saharawi diplomacy called ACHPR's President Ms. Dupe Atoki to the "immediate intervention" in order to cancel those sentences and ensure the full respect for the fundamental human rights of the Saharawi population pending the decolonization of Western Sahara, in line with the principles of international legitimacy and United Nations and African Union relevant resolutions.

Mr. Ould Salek expressed SADR government and POLISARIO's condemnation to this politically motivated trial and the unfair sentences issued against the Saharawi activists, who advocate for the Saharawi people's right to self-determination.

The Minister recalled that such trial brings to mind the unjust show trials conducted during the Apartheid system in South Africa, given that Western Sahara, adds Ould Salek, is the last in a series of grave violations of human rights committed by Moroccan authorities since the beginning of its illegal occupation of Western Sahara on 31 October 1975.

He, finally, urged Ms. Atoki to make every effort to ensure that the Saharawi population's human rights be protected, pending the decolonization of Western Sahara.

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