from the Western Sahara Campaign UK
29th July 2003
Prisoner of Conscience sets Wednesday 30th as date for Self-Immolation
Here follows a statement released in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara on 27th July 2003 from the "Action Committee for the Liberation of Ali Salem Tamek and all Saharawi Political Prisoners" :
Appeal by the Action Committee for the Liberation of Ali Salem TAMEK and all Saharawi Political Prisoners
After having tried various forms of action, the political prisoner Ali Salem Tamek, who has been observing an indefinite hunger strike since Wednesday 9th July, in protest against his arbitrary transfer from Sale prison to Ait Melloul and the withdrawal of his essential rights that follow from his status as prisoner of conscience, has decided to immolate himself by fire on Wednesday 30th July.
He is aware that representatives of the AMDH (Moroccan Association of Human Rights), OMDH (Global Human Rights Observatory) and FVJ (Forum for Truth and Justice) had had an audience with the [Moroccan] Minister of Justice this week, during which the minister promised to restore to Tamek all the gains he had made while he was imprisoned in Sale.
Faced with the non-fulfillment of these promises, Tamek has taken this difficult decision.
The Action Committee for the Liberation of Ali Salem Tamek and all Saharawi Political Prisoners, while holding the Minister of Justice and all concerned responsible, launches a pressing appeal, in distress, to summon all people of democratic beliefs to work urgently to save the life of Ali Salem Tamek
El Ayoun, 27th July 2003
The Western Sahara Campaign appeals to the Moroccan authorities to restore Tamek's rights as a prisoner of conscience immediately, and set in motion the procedure for his release as soon as possible.
The Campaign recalls that Tamek has been adopted as Prisoner of Conscience by Amnesty International. He was sentenced to two years imprisonment solely on the basis of statements allegedly extracted under torture from other human rights activists, and his open belief in the independence of Western Sahara from Morocco. He has been a leading member of the Forum for Truth and Justice, a human rights NGO in which Moroccans and Saharawis have worked together.
He has previously twice been imprisoned for trying to leave Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara to join the Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria, and has repeatedly been denied a passport by the Moroccan authorities.
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a) Tamek should never have been in prison in the first place
b) steps should be taken immediately to prepare for his release
c) he should be informed of his imminent release in time to prevent him going through with his decision to burn himself.
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Moroccan Minister of the
Moroccan Ambassador in