Saturday, October 17, 2009

Amaidane at Parliament square with VIP LONDON

Lamine Baali meeting the President of Catalonia


(From the Western Sahara Campaign & the Free Western Sahara Network)

Olympian joins MP's to mark International Court ruling call for
release of detainees

To mark the anniversary of the International Court of Justice's (ICJ)
ruling on Western Sahara's right to self determination, a Saharawi
Olympic athlete will today run around Parliament Square thirty-four
times: once for each year that the judgment has been ignored by
Morocco. The runner, Salah Hmatou Amaidan, will be joined for a lap by
various MP's, celebrities and campaigners who will also express their
concern for the safety of 7 prominent human rights activists arrested
in Casablanca last week.

The advocates belong to a number of human rights organizations and
civil society groups and have long track records of monitoring of and
reporting on human rights violations in Western Sahara. They were
driven away by security forces after returning from a visit to the
refugee camps in the Algerian desert where 165,000 Saharawi's have
lived for over three decades. Neither their location nor the reason
for their detention has been disclosed. Human rights organisations
including Amnesty International have expressed serious concerns about
this latest incident in a country where over 500 Saharawi activists
have 'disappeared'.

Amaidan, 26, who regularly trains with Paula Radcliffe in the France
where he lives in exile, has won gold medals in Africa and Europe and
is in London to promote the 'Running the Sahara' marathon that takes
place in the refugee camps next February. He will be joined by a
number of prominent lawyers, campaigners and MP's who will try and
keep up with him for a single lap each. Amaidan will then run to the
Moroccan Embassy where he will deliver a letter calling on Morocco to
disclose the exact place of detention of the seven activists and to
provide them with immediate access to their families, lawyers and any
medical attention they might require.

Jeremy Corbyn MP (Chair of the APPG on Western Sahara) said today:

“Today, exactly thirty-four years after the ICJ stated that the facts
did ‘not establish any tie of territorial sovereignty between the
territory of Western Sahara and the Kingdom of Morocco’ and upheld UN
resolution 1541 on the right of the Saharwi to self-determination,
Western Sahara remains occupied. Over 100 further UN resolutions have
been passed but not enforced. In the meantime Saharawi's human rights
are trampled. Those who stand-up against this repression - people like
Ahmed Alansari, Brahim Dahane, Yahdih Ettarouzi, Saleh Labihi, Dakja
Lashgar, Rachid Sghir and Ali Salem Tamek – risk detention, torture
and or even being 'disappeared' themselves.”

Those arrested are:

Ali Salem Tamek, first vice president of the Collective of Saharawi
Human Rights Defenders (CODESA) and member of the Moroccan Association
for Human Rights (AMDH);

Brahim Dahane, president of the Saharawi Association of Victims of
Serious Violations Committed by Morocco (ASVDH);

Ahmad Anasiri, general secretary of the Saharawi Committee for the
Defence of Human Rights in Smara and president of AMDH – Smara

Dagja Lachgar, member of the executive office of ASVDH;

Yahdih Ettarrouzi, member of AMDH – Laayounne Chapter;

Saleh Lebayhi, president of the Forum for Protection of Sahrawi
Children and member of the Laayoune Chapter of CODESA and AMDH;

Rachid Sghayar, member of Committee Action against Torture.

Amaidane Salah Hmatou will be competing in the Wimbledon 10k run on
18th October and giving testimony in Parliament at a meeting with the
All Party Parliamentary Group on Western Sahara at 3.30pm on 20th
October. Details of Running the Sahara are at

The letter has been signed by Jeremy Corbyn MP (Chair of the APPG on
Western Sahara), John Austin MP, Katy Clark MP, David Drew MP, Hwyel
Williams MP, Kelvin Hopkins MP, Sally Keeble MP, Ruth Tanner (Head of
Campaigns, War on Want), Mark Leutchford (President, Western Sahara
Campaign UK), Stefan Simanowitz (Chair, Free Western Sahara Network),
Danielle Smith (Chair, Sandblast), Professor Isabel Santaolalla School
of Arts Roehamoton University and Y Lamine Baali (Polisario
representative for the UK).

solidarity with the Saharawi Human Right Activist

Statement: Sandblast condemns arrest of 7 saharawi human rights activists
London, Oct. 13, 2009 – The apprehension of seven Saharawi human
rights advocates in Casablanca last Thursday, October 8, 2009, is the
latest systematic violation of human rights by Moroccans against
Saharawis after the detention of six Saharawi students in August this

Moroccan police arrested a group of human rights defenders from
Western Sahara on October 8th 2009 at the Casablanca Airport at the
point of their return from the Saharawi refugee camps in SW Algeria.
While Moroccan police officers have confirmed the arrest, no further
details on the group’s whereabouts and their situation were released.

The group’s visit to the camps had previously been condemned in the
Moroccan press and they accused the advocates of treason. The widely
published articles and press releases stated that their visit “hurt
the feelings of the whole Moroccan people” and demanded an “exemplary
punishment” for all members of this group.

Mohamed Abdelaziz, the President of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic
Republic (SADR) expressed his concern to the President of the Security
Council, Mr Le Loung Minh for the safety of the Saharawi detainees.

Sandblast condemns the abduction and fears for the safety of
Ali Salem Tamek, first Vice-President of the Saharawi Collective of
Human Rights Defenders (CODESA);
Brahim Dahane, President of the Sahrawi Association of Victims of
Grave Violations of Human Rights (ASVDH);
Ahmad Anasiri, General Secretary of the Saharawi Committee for the
Defence of Human Rights in Smara;
Yahdih Ettarrouzi, member of AMDH Laayounne Chapter;
Saleh Lebayhi, President of the Forum for the Protection of Saharawi Children;
Dagja Lachgar member of the executive office of ASVDH, and
Rachid Sghayar, member of the Committee Action Against Torture

Sandblast Press release London 16th October

LONDON. Yesterday Friday October 16, Sandblast organized a reception to
honour gold medalist runner Salah Eddine, visiting the UK for the first time, in
collaboration with Caravanserai Theatre at their Acting studios in west London.
This date coincided with the 34th anniversary of the ICJ ruling in favour of
Saharawi self-determination over the Moroccan and Mauritanian sovereignty
claims to Western Sahara.
Around 20 Moroccans showed up before the start of the evening with the intent to
disrupt the occasion. Many amongst them did not have the decency to respond to
the greetings offered by their hosts. The members of this group appeared to be
organized and others who appeared under the influence of alchohol unfurled two
large banners with Arabic writing. According to sources who could translate the
banners claimed that Western Sahara is Moroccan. Amongst the Moroccan guests
were two journalists from the Moroccan Press Agency (MAP) and an imam from the
local mosque.
Unfortunately the two MAP journalists left before the evenings events began along
with most of the others who left when asked to put away their banners. Their
departure was marked by a hostile reaction and verbal abuses.
During the evening the documentary, Western Sahara: A forgotten war, originally
broadcast on the Correspondent programme, in 1998, was screened. This BBC 2
film is one of the rare films that present the perspective of all parties to the conflict
to expose why the self determination referendum has not taken place. In it the
inhabitants of the refugee camps and mostly Moroccan politicians express their
views on the question of independence in Western Sahara. Following the film
Salah presented his story of growing up under the Moroccan occupation and
becoming the sole Saharawi athlete to compete for the Moroccan national team and
win 3 gold medals for cross country.
All the young present and the sports, human rights, humanitarian organizations
present were moved by Salah’s testimony and were very interested in the film.
Many questions were asked about how best to provide support for Salah’s athletic
projects for the Saharawi youth.

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