The below letter (see also in pdf) was sent from the Irish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Mark McLoughlin yesterday.
Mr. Mark McLoughlin
22 October 2009
Dear Mr. McLoughlin, The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr.MicheŠl Martin T.D. has asked me to thank you for your email concerning the situation of the seven Human Rights Defenders, including Ali Salem Tamek, detained by the Moroccan authorities last week.
We understand that this group were detained upon arriving Morocco following their return from Saharawi refugee camps and that they continue to be held and may face serious charges, including treason. Through our embassy in Lisbon, which is accredited to Morocco, we have been in contact with our EU partners on the ground in Rabat, who have been in discussions with the Moroccan authorities about the case.
The embassy will continue to monitor the situation of the group and remain in contact with the EU partners on the ground. We will also continue to raise the importance of human rights protection with the Moroccan authorities, including directly with the Ambassador here, at every available opportunity.
Since 1975, three quarters of the territory of Western Sahara has been occupied by Morocco. A majority of the population is still living in refugee camps in Algeria. Those who remained in their homeland are subjected to serious harassment from the Moroccan occupiers. For more than 40 years the Sahrawis have been waiting for the fullfilment of their legitimate right to self-determination.
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