DSCWS also forwarded the letter to the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Danish Parliament’s Committee for Foreign Affairs, Africa Contact Denmark, A World Associations of Writers, the PEN ( Danish PEN Centre), Amnesty International – Denmark, Danish Institute for Human rights, Danish Centre for Human Rights (DCHR), Danwatch, Human Rights Watch and the Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims ( RCT )- Denmark.
Here is the complete text of the letter received by UPES:
The Danish Support Committee for the Saharawi People
The Danish Support Committee for the Saharawi People ( DSCWS ) supports UPES for the release of the Saharawi prisoner of conscience Mustapha Abd Daiem
February 07th, 2009
Mr. Malainin Lakhal
Union of the Saharawi Journalists and Writers ( UPES )
Saharawi Refugee camps
Supporting your Campaign to Free Mustapha Abd Daiem
The Danish Support Committee for the Saharawi People (DSCWS) wants to express its support for the Campaign to free Mustapha Abd Daiem, a Saharawi human rights activist, journalist member of the Union of the Saharawi Journalists and Writers.
On 4 November, the Court of First Instance of Guelmim convicted him of offending the flag of the Kingdom of Morocco, rebelling and inciting an armed gathering, participating in the destruction of public property and participating in the contempt of public officials on duty. In addition to the prison term he was fined 50,000 dirhams (approximately US$6,220). The sentence also leaves him unemployed, as it included a prohibition of practicing teaching or working in any educational institution for a period of 10 years.
During his appeal trial, Mustafa Abdel Dayem was denied his right to be defended by legal counsel. According to members of his defence team, none of his lawyers was summoned to the appeal hearings, which took place at the Court of Appeals of Agadir. Furthermore, Mustafa Abdel Dayem claims that his requests to postpone the second hearing on 11 December until his lawyers were present or until he had had the opportunity to constitute, a different defence team was rejected by the court.
Mustafa Abd Daiem is currently serving a three-year prison sentence in Ait Meloul prison in Morocco and has been on a hunger strike to protest his situation. The DSCWS is concerned about his recent trial which we understand was highly irregular and thus his current prison sentence is unfair and unjustified.
Western Sahara has been classified by the United Nations as a “non-self-governing territory”. And since 1975, this territory has been under the occupation of Morocco, which claims sovereignty over the territory. This is in contravention with the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and more than 100 UN resolutions that call for the right of Self-determination of the Saharawi People.
International Court of Justice, 16 October 1975
"Thus the Court has not found legal ties of such a nature as might affect the application of General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) in the decolonization of Western Sahara and, in particular, of the principle of self-determination through the free and genuine expression of the will of the peoples of the Territory."
UN General Assembly 34/37, 1979
"The General Assembly[...]Deeply deplores the aggravation of the situation resulting from the continued occupation of Western Sahara by Morocco and the extension of that occupation to the territory recently evacuated by Mauritania".
The illegal occupation by Morocco of the territory of Western Sahara has been possible through the constant repression of the Sahrawi people, making their human rights vulnerable on an ongoing basis: Arbitrary arrests, imprisonment, disappearances, torture, trials without guarantees, prohibition of protests or association, presence of the police and army in the streets, creation of a climate of fear and terror among the civilians, etc. An explosive situation has been created throughout the territory.
As denounced by various international human rights defence organisations such as Front Line, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, as well as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, human rights activists in Western
Sahara are the habitual target of repressive actions from Moroccan authorities.
The question of human rights runs parallel to the issues concerning the right to self-determination.
One of the main links in the chain of abuses committed on the human rights of the Saharawi population is the plundering of their natural resources. Spawned by the relentless policy exercised by Morocco since the beginning of the occupation, this violation would not have been possible without the acquiescence and, on occasions, active participation of third countries. On 29th of January 2002, the UN Under-Secretary General for Legal Affairs, Mr. Hans Corell, wrote to the Security Council that "if further exploration and exploitation activities were to proceed in disregard of the interests and wishes of the people of Western Sahara, they would be in violation of the principles of international law".
More than 500 Saharawi have disappeared since Morocco invaded the territory in 1975, the human rights situation in the occupied territories of the Western Sahara is of great concern to the DSCWS where the Saharawi people are denied their right to self-determination. The Saharawis continue to endure human rights abuses. The DSCWS asks UN to expand the mandate of its Mission on the ground (MINURSO) to monitor the important issue of Human Rights.
The DSCWS believes that Mustafa Abdel Daiem’s conviction was intended to punish him for his public support for the right to self-determination for the People of Western Sahara and strongly supports the Campaign run by UPES for his immediate release
Spokesperson of DSCWS
- Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Danish Parliament’s Committee for Foreign Affairs
- Africa Contact Denmark
- A World Associations of Writers, the PEN (Danish PEN Centre)
- Amnesty International - Denmark
- Danish Institute for Human rights
- Danish Centre for Human Rights (DCHR)
- Human Rights Watch
- Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims (RCT)- Denmark