Life sentence of ill-treatment for fighting Africa’s last colonial power

Sidahmed LemjayedA life-sentence in prison, torture and a lack of medical treatment is the price Sidahmed Lemjayed and 22 of his fellow Saharawis have had to pay for fighting for independence and against the exploitation of resources in their homeland, Western Sahara.

“Saharawi political prisoners are daily exposed to systematic torture and ill-treatment, harassment, medical neglect and other abusive treatment”, the Committee for Supporting the UN Settlement Plan and the Protection of Natural Resources in Western Sahara (CSPRON) said in a statement last week. Read more of this post

Release political prisoners in Africa’s last colony

Africa Contact today launches the ACT NOW to free Sidahmed Lemjayed Campaign together with our partner organisations. Sidahmed Lemjayed is the President of the Commitee for the Protection of Natural Resources (CSPRON) in occupied Moroccan-Western Sahara, Africa’s last colony.

Sidahmed Lemjayed was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Moroccan military court (he is a civilian) on February 16 2013. The charges against him were membership of a criminal gang and deadly violence against members of the Moroccan security forces during the raid of the Gdeim Izik protest camp outside El Aaiun in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara.

But Africa Contact see him as a political prisoner who is being punished for his work to protect the natural resources of Western Sahara against widespread, illegal Moroccan plunder and the widespread exhausting of Western Sahara’s natural resources. Read more of this post

Amnesty report condemns “excessive force” in Western Sahara

“The [Moroccan] authorities continued to target Sahrawi human rights defenders and advocates of self-determination for Western Sahara, and used excessive force to quell or prevent demonstrations in Western Sahara,” Amnesty International say in their 2013 Annual Report that was published today [23. May].

Western Sahara is the last colony in Africa. The territory has been illegally occupied by Morocco since 1975. No country accepts Morocco’s claim to Western Sahara, but over 80 countries have recognised Western Sahara’s exile government, the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), which is a member of the African Union. Read more of this post

Africa Contact condemns Morocco’s punishment of human rights activists

Press release: Africa Contact strongly condemns the harsh and unjust sentences given February 17th,  by a Moroccan military court to 24 Saharawis – Western
Sahara’s indigenous population, just for demanding the right to live in their own country without Moroccan occupation and discrimination.

One of the accused, Chaikh Banga, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison, said during the trial: “If my love for my country is considered an offense let the world witness that I am a gangster.” Read more of this post

Retssagen imod menneskerettighedsaktivister fra Vestsahara ”ulovlig” og ”uretfærdig”

”Retssagen er ulovlig og uretfærdig, eftersom den vedrører aktivister der bor i det af Marokko besatte Vestsahara”, udtalte det spanske medlem af Europarlamentet, Willy Meyer, i går ifølge Algeria Press Service.

Willy Meyer er, som en af flere Europarlamentarikere, international observatør i den militære domstol imod de 23 menneskerettighedsaktivister fra Vestsahara. Han opfordrede desuden Marokko til at løslade de 23 anklagede, samt at Marokko uden tøven gennemførte den folkeafstemning om Vestsaharas tilhørsforhold som FN har krævet i årtier. Read more of this post

Saharawis face torture and unfair trials in Moroccan justice system

“[Moroccan] Courts deprived defendants in political cases of the right to fair trials and in a number of cases ignored their requests for medical examinations following their allegations of torture and convicted defendants based on apparently coerced confessions,” Human Rights Watch wrote in their 2013 World Report that was released on Friday.

In the report, Human Rights Watch also stated that there were “credible reports” of police beatings and electric shocks in Moroccan prisons, that there were no effective safeguards against such torture, and that the perpetrators acted with impunity.

One recent example of such Moroccan mistreatment of its prisoners is the 24 Saharawi political prisoners Read more of this post

Danish protest against Moroccan kangaroo court

Today, representatives of Danish solidarity organization Africa Contact, the Danish political party the Red-Green Alliance, Polisario, and others staged a protest outside the Moroccan Embassy in Copenhagen.

The focus of the protest was the Moroccan military court case against 23 human right activists from occupied Western Sahara that is to commence on the first of February.

”We are standing here because we want to show our solidarity with their struggle, and also because we want to show our protest with the Moroccan state and the way they are running court cases against political activists,” said Morten Nielsen, head of Secretariat at Africa Contact. Read more of this post


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