The Arrest of International Trade Union activists from Spain, France and Italy in El Aaiun, Western Sahara

On Tuesday, February 19, 2008, the Moroccan authorities in El Aaiun, Western Sahara arrested a Sahrawi trade union activist, Sidi Ahmed Moussa Eddia, 59 years old, his wife (lakhlifi Lalla Sallam, 48 years old, mother of ten children) and a European delegation representing three trade unions from Italy, Spain and France.

The names of these trade unions representatives are:  
- Victoria Montero, president of the international relations of the trade union, CCOO, Spain
- Juan Ortega, a member of the same organisation,
- Jean Jacques Guigon, responsible for the international relations of the CGT, France, and
- Leopoldo Tartaglia representing the CGIL in Italy, and responsible for the relation with North Africa.

All of them had been discussing at Mr. Eddia’s house, (located in Rue Tifelt Number 136, Elhay Elhajari district, El Aaiun, WS) while the Moroccan forces intervened and arrested the four trade union activists, Mr Edia and his wife  at about 12:30.

At the police station, the European activists were interrogated about the motives of their visit to the Western Sahara and their relationship to Mr. Eddia.      

The Moroccan authorities have released the Sahrawi and European trade union activists after four hour-interrogation in the Wilaya of Security (= the central police office) in El Aaiun, W.S.  The activists were set free without having any idea about the reasons of their arrest and without being accused of any charges.

As soon as the arrest took place, the CODESA launched a release in which it:
-denounced this irresponsible act and called the Moroccan state to immediately release the trade union activists, visiting the Western Sahara in order to witness the Sahrawi workers’ conditions.
- urged the Moroccan state to stop harassing and intimidating the Sahrawi activists as well as the foreign delegations coming to unveil the human rights abuses committed by the Moroccan authorities in the territory,
- called for the release of all the Sahrawi political prisoners in the Moroccan jails without any condition.                                  

The CODESA Secretariat,
El Aaiun, Western Sahara,
February 20, 2008

--> Arrestation d'un groupe de syndicalistes d'Espagne, d'Italie et de France à El Ayoune, 20.02.08

--> Sindicalistas de CCOO, CGT y CGIL retenidos unas horas en Marruecos mientras se reunían con antiguos trabajadores de empresas españolas , comunicado CCOO, 20.02.08