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The 11th Festival of Popular Culture and ARt took place in the wilaya of Dakhla, in the presence of many many members of the National Secretariat, the government, the National Council (parliament) and the Consultative Council. The festival, which coincides with the 27th anniversary of National Unity - proclaimed on 12th October 1975 at Ain Ben Tili, took place over four days, during which various artistic and folk groups performed. This festival was dedicated to the memory of Mohamed-Fadel Ismail, Saharawi intellectual and diplomat who died at the beginning of May in London. The president of the Republic, Mohamed Abdelaziz, accompanied by members of the executive, inaugarated a 12 hectare vegetable garden, financed by the province of Estramadura (Spain), which employs drip-feed irrigation. The head of state also opened a water-supply system for two dairas of the wilaya, built by Saharawi civil engineers. Craft exhibitions were also organised. (SPS)
Five Saharawi athletes took part in the the Munich Marathon. Mohamed Salem Brahim Breigh, placed 74th, ran the 27 miles (42 km) in 2h 56min. The other Saharawi athletes followed a few minutes later. (SPS)
Trial in El Ayoun
After a hearing of several hours, the court at El Ayoun acquitted and freed Abdessalam Eddymaoui. Observers appointed by human rights organisations and a foreign journalist were present at the trial. A member of the Sahara Section of the Truth & Justice Forum, Eddymaoui was arrested on the 28.08.02 at Goulimine, accused of having organised demonstrations in Smara in November 2001.
In front of the court, Eddymaoui, described his arrest as belonging to a pattern of Moroccan state intimidation aimed at reducing defenders of Saharawi human rights to silence. He expressed his determination to continue, without cease, his activities in defence of human rights in Western Sahara with his comrades, until the truth is etablished. Eddymaoui enumerated numerous violations commited: "kidnapping of Saharawis, of all generations and positions: men, women, even pregnant women, infants, etc, live burial of Saharawis in mass graves, throwing of Saharawis out of helicopters by the Moroccan army, hundred of forced disappearances, barbaric tortures....". He also recalled before the court the harrassment suffered by Saharawi human rights activists, in particular those from the FVJSAH: "unfair dismissal, unfair transfer, stopping of their wages, arrests, etc". (corr.)
Agadir: Appeal comes to court
The appeal of Ali Salem Tamek, member of the national council of the Truth & Justice Forum and of the Sahara Section office, took place in the presence of a great number of members of the public come from the occupied territories, together with many Saharawi students from Moroccan universities and foreign observers. In his plea, Tamek denied any link with the Polisario Front network. Spelling out in detail violations of human rights in Western Sahara, he justified his promotion of human rights and the self-determination of his people. The state prosecutor, rather than develop a case around the principal charges, instead launched into a plea for the territorial integrity of Morocco. Lawyers, among them the president of the Truth & Justice Forum, Me Mohammed Sabbar, showed that the charges against Tamek were without foundation. Judgement is expected on the 24th October.
Ali Salem Tamek, arrested on the 26th August in Rabat, was found guilty of threatening the security of the state and sentenced to two years of closed prison and a fine of 10,000 Dirhams on 10.09.02 by the magistrate's court in Agadir. (see week 35 )
Visit of the King of Morocco to Russia
The King of Morocco was hoping that his official visit to Russia would produce a change in the Russian Federation's position on Western Sahara. On the eve of the arrival of Mohammed VI, the spokesperson of the Russian Foreign Minister declared: "As to the Western Sahara issue, Russia continues to stand its ground in resorting to political and diplomatic measures to settle the problem, assisted by UN efforts in adjusting this dragging dispute, first of all by the UN Peace Plan. At the same time, we welcome all other alternatives of political settling which would bring the conflicting sides to a voluntary agreement."
An accord of cooperation in fishing matters was concluded between the two countries, replacing the previous accord which expired on 31st December 1999. The new accord permits the formation of mixed companies to fish in Moroccan and Saharawi waters. Morocco, in signing this accord, broke with its fisheries policy of not allowing foreign boats to fish in Moroccan or Saharawi waters. It is this strategy which led to the non-renewal of the fishing accord with the EU. (press agencies)
In a press release, an action committee of free officers of the Moroccan Armed Forces, recently created, denounced corruption in the army. According to Moroccan exiles living in France, it concerned young officers serving in Western Sahara. The signatories of the statement denounced "the power of the current generals and certain superior officer" who drew "on the funds of the different corps of the army (...) to the detriment of the troops and men who have suffered a steady deterioration in their standard of living in their barracks". The movement threatens to "move on to direct action" and asks the King to hear their demands, among which are the dismissal of the current heads of the army, control on the social expenditure of the army and the release of officers condemned for having exposed corruption in their units. (press agencies)
Vuelo a los campamentos: Barcelona - Tindouf: 04.12 - 08.12.02 o 05.12-09.12.02. Info: ACAPS Vilanova y Geltru, firstname.lastname@example.org
Moisés Benevolencia Divina: profeta del siglo XXI, Luis Hernández Rocha
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