국제앰네스티는 모로코 정부에 사라위(Sahrawi)족 활동가들에 대한 탄압을 멈출 것을 요구했다.
모로코 경찰 당국은 폴리사리오 인민해방전선(The Polisario, Polisario Front)이 관할중인 알제리 내 틴도프(Tindouf) 난민 캠프를 방문한 사라위족 활동가 6명을 구금한 상태다.
폴리사리오 인민해방전선은 사하라 서부 지역의 독립을 요구하는 사라위족 조직으로 자체 망명정부 수립을 선언한 바 있다.
구금된 활동가들은 모두 민간인이지만, “영토 보전”을 포함한 모로코 안보를 위협한 혐의로 군사법정에 넘겨진 상태이며, 체포된 후 여섯 달이 지난 지금까지 재판일이 결정되지 않았다.
이들 활동가들은 재판 없이 구금된 상황에 항의하는 단식 투쟁을 4주간 이어왔다. 현재 이들의 건강은 매우 쇠약한 상태로, 면회하러 온 가족들을 맞으러 나서는 것 조차 힘든 상황이다.
국제앰네스티 중동·북아프리카국(局) 말콤 스마트(Malcolm Smart) 국장은 이들 활동가에 대해 “평화적으로 표현의 자유를 행사한 후 구금된 양심수로 간주한다”고 밝히며, “조건 없이, 즉시 이들을 석방할 것”을 모로코 정부에 요구했다.
사하라 서부의 사라위(Sahrawi)족은 모로코가 영토를 병합한 뒤 1975~6년 알제리 틴도프 캠프에 자리잡았다. 알제리 정부는 이들의 인구를 165,000명 정도로 추산한다.
Morocco must end harassment of Sahrawi activists
Friday 9 April 2010
Hunger strikers protesting against their detention without trial are among those who have faced intimidation after visiting refugee camps in Algeria. Amnesty International has called on the Moroccan authorities to end the ongoing harassment and intimidation of Sahrawi activists, as five of six who have been detained since last October began the fourth week of a hunger strike in protest at their detention without trial.
The hunger strikers are among a number of Sahrawi activists who have faced harassment and intimidation after visiting refugee camps in Algeria administered by the Polisario Front, which calls for the independence of Western Sahara and has set up a self-proclaimed government-in-exile.
One group was beaten with batons at Laayoune airport last Wednesday when they returned to Western Sahara from the Tindouf refugee camps.
The six detainees on hunger strike were among seven Sahrawi activists arrested on 8 October 2009 at Mohammed V airport in Casablanca when they returned from visiting the Tindouf camps in Algeria.
“We are increasingly concerned for the health of these detainees as they continue with their protest,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa programme.
“In fact, we consider them prisoners of conscience imprisoned for the peaceful exercise of freedom of expression, and we are urging the Moroccan authorities to release them immediately and unconditionally.”
Five of the six began a hunger strike on 18 March in protest against their continuing detention without trial, and the sixth joined in earlier this week.
Although they are all civilians, they have been referred for trial by the Military Court on charges of undermining Morocco’s security including its “territorial integrity”, but six months after their arrest no date for their trial has yet been set.
The six – Ahmed Alansari, Brahim Dahane, Yahdih Ettarouzi, Rachid Sghir, Ali Salem Tamek, and Saleh Labihi, who joined the hunger strike last Monday – are all held at Salé Prison, near Rabat, far from their homes in Western Sahara.
The five who have been on hunger strike for longest are now reported to be too weak to leave their cells for family visits
The seventh member of the group and only woman to be arrested, Dakja Lashgar, was provisionally released in January on health grounds.
Last Wednesday, 11 other Sahrawi activists were assaulted by a crowd of people chanting slogans in support of Moroccan rule in Western Sahara when they arrived at Laayoune airport after visiting the Tindouf refugee camps.
The crowd accused them of being “traitors” because of their advocacy of self-determination for the people of Western Sahara, which Morocco annexed in 1975. Some beat the Sahrawis with batons in front of Moroccan law enforcement officials who, however, failed to intervene.
Earlier, on 9 March, another group of Sahrawi activists who had recently returned from visiting Tindouf were beaten by Moroccan law enforcement officials, who used excessive force to break up a demonstration in Laayoune in favour of self-determination for Western Sahara.
Sahrawis from Western Sahara arrived to the Tindouf refugee camps in 1975 and 1976, after Morocco annexed the territory. The Algerian government estimates the number of Sahrawi refugees in the camps to be 165,000. The UNHCR assists about “90,000 vulnerable people in the camps”. A ceasefire between Morocco and the Polisario Front has been in place since 1991.