Sahara Press Service (El Aaiun)

26 February 2013

Morocco: WSRW Calls for Halt of EU Trade Talks With Nation

Londo — In view of the incredibly harsh verdicts in the Gdeim Izik trial, which failed to meet the international standards for a fair trial, Western Sahara Resource Watch has appealed to the European Commission to put ongoing discussions for increased trade with Morocco on hold.

Western Sahara Resource Watch has sent letters to the European Commissioner for Trade, Mr Karel De Gucht, and the European Commissioner for Fisheries, Mrs Maria Damanaki.

"Many of the convicted men are known human rights activists and have always been outspoken on their pro-independence stance. Some of them denounced the ongoing economic activities in the occupied Western Sahara in the court room. These men belong to organizations that wrote to you in a joint letter on 26 June 2012, asking for the clear and explicit exclusion of the territory of Western Sahara from all future trade deals between the EU and Morocco, including the envisioned Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement", WSRW wrote in its letter to the European Commissioner for Trade.

"It is sad to note that Saharawi that have always demanded the EU to respect international law should be sentenced to a lifetime in jail by a Moroccan military court", the letter continued.

"We understand that provisions for human rights are to be included in the impending fisheries protocol with Morocco. In the current situation, where the European Parliament denounces the human rights violations in Western Sahara and where representatives expressing the wishes of the Saharawi people are being sentenced to jail, it makes little sense to sign an agreement with Morocco even with measures for human rights protection, regardless of the exclusion of the territory", the letter to Commissioner Damanaki stated.

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