Unlimited Hunger Strike in El Ayoun's prison

17.01.02 Weekly News, week 03 /2002
At the end of 24 days of hunger strike, the Saharawi detainees decided to suspend their action, after having obtained satisfaction on the following points: access to drinking water and to the prison's public telephone, easing of the overcrowding in the cells.

14.01.02 A letter for the European Union, M. Sidati, delegation of the Polisario Front for Europe

12.01.02 Weekly News, week 02 /2002

11.01.02 Press Statement from the Intergroup of the European Parliament "PEACE FOR THE SAHARAWI PEOPLE" on the hunger strike

10.01.02 Dossier AFAPREDESA + UJS

09.01.02 Sahara Press Service french

08.01.02 Saharawi Hunger Strikes, Workers Online, Australia

08.01.02 Western Sahara: "Parliament" demands immediate release of prisoners

08.01.02 Sahara Press Service french or spanish

07.01.02 Moroccan terror in Sahrawi Occupied territories must stop! , press release of Western Sahara (POLISARIO) Mission for UK & Ireland

07.01.02 Sahara Press Service: french or spanish

06.01.02 Saharan students denounce Moroccan human rights violations

06.01.02 Sahara Press Service french or spanish

05.01.02 Weekly News, week 01 /2002

04.01.02 Sahara Press Service french or spanish

03.01.02 Sahara Press Service french or spanish

02.01.02 Sahara Press Service french

Unlimited Hunger Strike in El Ayoun's prison

The hunger strike in the civil prison of El Ayoun continues in spite of the intransigent attitude of the authorities. Haddi Ahmed Mahmoud, who is suspected of being the instigator of the movement, was maltreated by a score of guards and was sent to an isolated and low-height cell where he can't stand upright. In addition, the head warden delivered threats and intimidations, prohibited the prisoners from receiving medical care, from walking in the court, and from using an accesible phone, the only public phone in the penitentiary.

In an official statement, the strikers requested from human rights organizations, in particular the Foundation France-Libertés, to intervene on their behalf before the Moroccan authorities, and denounced once again the inhuman conditions of their imprisonment. They finally asked the UN secretary-general and his personal envoy, James Baker, to give the Saharawi people the opportunity to exert its right to self-determination.

Mothers demonstrate

The morning of January 2nd, seventy mothers of prisoners gathered in front of the governor's office in El Ayoun, demanding the immediate release of their sons; the hunger strikers. At the request of the police chief, Mr. Belhassan , three women were assigned as representatives to discuss with the governor, however the latter refused to receive them. The women then headed to the prison and marched in front of the buildings of the first court of instance, the Court of Appeal and MINURSO's headquarters, all located in the same street.
At the end of the march, anti-riots forces intervened brutally to disperse the march, violently charging the women with blows with boots and bludgeons. 23 demonstrators were wounded.


Unlimited Hunger Strike in El Ayoun's prison

(complement to the informations of Weekly news 52/2001)

Saharawi political prisoners and ordinary detainees undertook a hunger strike, starting December 25th, to protest the deplorable conditions and denial of basic human rights.

Altogether, more than 130 prisoners from El Ayoun's prison went on hunger strike. Among them are 23 political prisoners arrested after the demonstrations of El Ayoun and Smara (see list). Six of them were sentenced December 20th , the others are under arrest pending trials. The prisonres have denounced the the poor treatment and rights violations they have endured, such as; solitary confinement and the summary trials of which they are victims and demanded their immediate release.

The political prisoners were joined by other detainees to protest the discrimination they undergo for being Saharawis. In fact, sentences handed down to Saharawis are more severe.

The prison authorities as well as the prosecutor of the king of the court of first instance in El Ayoun, dispatched to the prison, tried without result in convincing the strikers to suspend their hunger strike.

Detention conditions in El Ayoun prison are known for their precariousness: with a capacity for 200 - 250 people; the establishment holds currently more than 700 prisoners. The prisoners languish in overcrowded cells, with deplorable conditions of hygiene, the propagation of contagious diseases like tuberculosis, the sexual harassment particularly of minors- who do not have a separated department- as well as increasing drug smuggling inside the penitentiary.

As the hunger strike went on, the mothers of the prisoners gathered, December 26th, outside the Court of Appeal and the following day in front of the civil prison. In each occasion, they were dispersed by police and their material confiscated.

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