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Western Sahara: Imprisoned saharawi human rights defenders begin new open hunger strike
A Front Line contact in Western Sahara sends this report on the latest developments in the trial of imprisoned Saharawi human rights defenders Ali Salem Tamek, Brahim Dahane and Ahmad Nasiri, who have announced a new hunger strike in protest at their ongoing imprisonment and the deferral of their trial to an unspecified date.
"The Saharawi Human Rights Defenders and prisoners of conscience - Ali Salem Tamek, Brahim Dahane and Ahmad Nasiri - have started an open hunger strike on Tuesday 22 Feb 2011, in Casablanca prison. They demand their right to a fair trial or their unconditional release.
This is their 6th hunger strike since their arrest and the third one in Casablanca prison after they were transferred from Salé prison. Their trial has been continuously postponed.
The three Saharawi political prisoners are still under arrest without any verdict. Ever since their first hunger strike – which lasted 41 days – they’ve been demanding their right for a fair trial or to be unconditionally released. The 41 days of hunger strike were ended by an indirect dialogue with the Moroccan authorities, resulting in an improvement of their situation inside the prison (Salé prison), referral of the case from a military to a civilian court and the provisional release of Saleh Lebaihi, Yahdih Ettarrouzi and Rachid Sghayar.
But it didn’t take long for the Moroccan authorities to resume punishing the Sahrawi prisoners of conscience, denying them their basic rights in Casablanca prison, mobilising Moroccan lawyers and citizens to physically and verbally assault the Saharawi detainees, their families, the international observers and journalists throughout the five sessions of their trial in Casablanca court.
The follow-up committee of the open hunger strike of the Saharawi human rights defenders under arrest in Casablanca prison (Okacha prison)/Morocco, presents this briefing as a background to the prisoners’ hunger strike in the coming days. The committee will be reporting on the prisoners’ health which is weak as a result of previous abductions, torture and several politically motivated incarcerations related to the prisoners’ position on the Western Sahara issue and their human rights activities".