Press Release: RFK Center urges Moroccan Authorities to Ensure Due Process of 7 Arrested Sahrawi Advocates
- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 9, 2009
Jeffrey Buchanan 202-463-7575 ext 241
RFK Center urges Moroccan Authorities to Ensure Due Process of 7 Arrested Sahrawi Advocates
Washington, DC --On October 8, seven Sahrawi advocates from Western Sahara were arrested by Moroccan police at the Mohamed V Airport in Casablanca, Morocco and remain in an undisclosed location. Members of 2008 RFK Human Rights Laureate Aminatou Haidar's organization, Collective of Saharawi Human Rights Defenders (CODESA) and several other human rights organizations based in Western Sahara were among those arrested.
The advocates were returning from a trip to Algeria where they visited Sahrawi refugee camps in the southwest of the country. The group was arrested immediately after their plane landed at the airport in Casablanca. Moroccan security agents reportedly made the arrests at the door of the airplane, and then departed in different cars with all seven advocates to an unknown location. Several of those taken into custody are former political prisoners.
Those arrested include 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 Chapter; 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; and Rachid Sghayar, member of Committee Action against Torture.
The RFK Center is deeply concerned about the safety of these advocates and whether their fundamental human rights are being respected, said Monika Kalra Varma, Director of the RFK Center for Human Rights. We urge the Moroccan authorities to comply with their human rights obligations under international law, ensuring the Sahrawi advocates rights to due process and equal treatment under the law.
The RFK Center urges the Moroccan authorities to:
1. Immediately conduct a thorough investigation into the arrest of these seven Sahrawis;
2. Guarantee the protection of their fundamental human rights, including their right to due process of law, as enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Morocco has ratified;
3. Take all measures to ensure their physical and psychological integrity; and
4. Comply with the Basic Principles for Treatment of Prisoners, adopted in the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 45/111 of 14 December 1990.
Source: The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights www.rfkcenter.org
Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara
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