Collective of the Saharawi Human Rights defenders "Territory of Western Sahara under Moroccan Control"

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Press release

"Let's save the life of TAMEK ALI SALEM"

We wish to make the international community aware that in protest against his conditions of imprisonment and threats to his physical security, the Saharawi political detainee and human rights defender, Tamek Ali Salem, imprisoned at the Salé penitentiary complex in Morocco, has been observing from Monday 10 March 2003 an unlimited hunger strike. The Moroccan authorities, taking advantage of the world situation, continue to react with total indifference to this. On this occasion, Saharawi human rights defenders in the territory of Western Sahara under Moroccan control:

  • strenuously denounce the poor prison conditions and threats to the physical safety of TAMEK ALI SALEM;
  • ask the Moroccan authorities to improve the conditions of detention of TAMEK ALI SALEM and to ensure his safety inside the prison;
  • express their complete solidarity with TAMEK ALI SALEM; - question the Moroccan authorities on the deteriorating state of health of TAMEK ALI SALEM arising from his unlimited hunger strike;
  • place responsibility for any eventual tragedy, which the non-satisfaction of the legitimate demands of TAMEK ALI SALEM to the Moroccan authorities could incur;
  • solicit international human rights organisations, in particular Amnesty International, the FIDH, BIRDHSO, Human Rights Watch to intervene with the Moroccan authorities to save the life of TAMEK ALI SALEM.

Meanwhile, Saharawi human rights defenders in Western Sahara territory under Moroccan control:

  • denounce the abusive transfer of Saharawi political detainees NASSIRI AHMED and NIGRO MOHAMED ALI from the civil prison of El Ayoun to that of Ait Melloul ;
  • denounce the unjust sentences handed down by Moroccan justice on 12/03/2003 to the Saharawi human rights defender BAZEID SALEK and his comrades, MOUSSAMIH BABA and BOURHIL MOHAMED LAMINE ;
  • express their unconditional solidarity with all Saharawi political detainees;
  • denounce the prison conditions of Saharawi political detainees and demand their improvement;
  • support all the legitimate actions of protest undertaken by Saharawi political detainees for the improvement of their conditions of detention; - call on the International Observation of Prisons to visit the town of Laâyoune in Western Sahara territory under Moroccan control to pronounce on the quality of prison conditions in its civil prison;
  • call for the immediate and unconditional release of all Saharawi political detainees including human rights defenders presently in detention "NASSRI AHMED, TAMEK ALI SALEM and BAZEID SALEK" ;

Finally, Saharawi human rights defenders in the territory of Western Sahara under Moroccan control renew their appeal to all international human rights organisations to intervene with the Moroccan authorities to demand; without delay, the establishment of truth on the fate of hundreds of Saharawis kept in forced disappearance in secret Moroccan gaols and also call on them to uphold the International Campaign "Freedom and Justice for disappeared Saharawis" launched by the International Bureau for the Respect of Human Rights in Western Sahara (BIRDHSO).

Laâyoune, 19 March 2003


[Communiqués, lettres. documents]

Droits humains au Sahara Occidental