International Campaign for the Release of Brahim Sabbar and All Sahrawi Political Prisoners
26 February 2008 ASVDH
The activist and human rights defender BRAHIM KHALIL HAMUDI TAYEB, known as BRAHIM SABBAR, Secretary-General of ASVDH, the Sahrawi Association of Victims of Grave Human Rights Violations Committed by the Moroccan State, was born on the 6th of August 1959 in Lagsabi. He is married and has three children.
Brahim Sabbar, was kidnapped by the Moroccan occupation forces on the 14th of August 1981 in the city of Dakhla (former Villa Cisneros), together with other Sahrawis, including Bulahi Sadiq, Haji Embarec and Mohamed Salem Mokhtar.
This Human Rights defender remained incarcerated for nearly 10 years without charges or trial in different secret Moroccan detention centres, including the infamous prison of Kalaat Magouna. He was released the 22nd of June 1991, together with other 321 Sahrawis, all of them considered 'disappeared' until that date. The Moroccan authorities have never given any official explanation about their detention and forced disappearance.
After his release, Brahim Sabbar joined the 'Committee of Coordination of the Victims of Forced Disappearances' in 1994, considered the embryo of the pro-human rights movement in the Occupied Territory of Western Sahara.
Since then, he has played a relevant role in the researching and reporting of grave human rights violations committed by the Moroccan forces of occupation in the occupied Western Sahara.
He contributed to a report on the Intifada of 1999 and the bloody repression carried of the occupying forces, also participating in several demonstrations and 'sit ins' of Sahrawi students in Rabat, to claim for the release of all persons detained arbitrarily and unjustly.
He participated in the representation of the Committee of Coordination of the Victims of Forced Disappearances and Arbitrary Detentions in several international human rights meetings organised by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Human Rights Federation (FIDH), as well as in different training workshops, such as the training session in International Penal Law, organised by the FIDH, in Casablanca in 2001.
He held meetings with different personalities in the Human Rights domain, including Mr. Eric Sottas, Director of OMCT and Mr. Pierre Sané, then Secretary-General of Amnesty International.
Brahim Sabbar participated with other Sahrawi and Moroccan activists in the creation of the 'Forum for Truth and Justice', being an elected member of its National Council. Also, he has been one of the founders of the Sahrawi Association of Victims of Grave Human Rights Violations Committed by the Moroccan State (ASVDH), as its elected Secretary-General.
In 2001, Brahim Sabbar was among the 36 Sahrawi and Moroccan Human Rights defenders condemned to three months of prison for having participated in the organisation of a peaceful demonstration in Rabat, Morocco's capital, on the 9th of December 2000, in which they claimed for the end of the impunity for the perpetrators of abuses of human rights in Morocco and Western Sahara.
In 2005, Brahim Sabbar was detained by the occupying forces on several occasions and held under surveillance for interrogation, to be later releated, for his involvement as a human rights activist and his participation in peaceful demonstrations against the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara. Since 2000, the authorities have not granted him a passport.
Sabbar has been and is still the object of repressive actions due to his involvement in the investigation and dissemination of information relating to human rights violations in Western Sahara, and also for expressing in public support for the right to self-determination for the Sahrawi People.
Together with AHMED SBAI and KAINNAN, he was detained on the 17th of June 2006 at a Moroccan police checkpoint near the outskirts of the city of El-Ayoun, Western Sahara, as he was coming back in his car from the nearby city of Boujdour, where they have been supervising the creation of a delegation of his association, ASVDH. Shortly before that, in May 2006, his Association had published a 121-page report that detailed arbitrary detentions, torture and ill-treatment at the hand of the Moroccan security forces in recent months against the Sahrawi people.
Brahim Sabbar, has recently participated together with other Sahrawi prisoners and human rights activists in several hunger strikes to protest the repeated abuses committed against them in prison.
In June 2006, Moroccan occupation tribunals condemned him to 2 years of prison for the charges of aggression and disobedience committed against an agent of the Moroccan police during his detention. These accusations were denied by Sabbar, who together with other testimonies, alleged that he was, in fact, being the victim of torture and ill-treatment. Later on, Sabbar was subject to a second trial in which he was condemned to one year and six months, adding up both sentences to three years and six months of prison. Both trials were held without procedural guarantees, without allowing the free exercise of the right to defence, without evidence, and without the tribunals of occupation having authority over him.
Currently, Brahim Sabbar is deprived of freedom and is serving the sentences imposed by the Moroccan tribunals of occupation in the so-called 'Black Prison' of El-Ayoun, suffering serious illness without receiving any kind of attention nor medical help. His blood pressure is higher than 18/22, and he suffers digestive diseases, visual disorders, among other ailments.
Brahim Sabbar is member of several national and international Human Rights organisations, among them:
-The Saharawi Committee for the Self-determination of the Sahrawi People (CODAPSO), founded by the Rafto Prize recipient Sidi Mohamed Daddach -The International Office for the Respect of Human Rights in Western Sahara (BIRDHSO) -Front Line human rights defenders -The Support Committee for the International Campaign for the Defence of the Human Rights Activists in Western Sahara, in which he has been elected as the first assistant to the president -El-Ayoun section of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights
Brahim Sabbar has contributed to the elaboration of several Memorandums and Reports about the human rights situation in the Occupied Territories of Western Sahara, the most recent published by ASVDH in 2006, which covered the Intifada of May 2005. He has participated in several relevant meetings for rising awareness in the international community about the grave human rights situation that prevails in the Occupied Territory of Western Sahara, among them:
-Meeting with the ad hoc European Parliament Delegation leaded by the Euro MP Catherine Lalumière, in March 2002 -Meeting with the United Nations High Commission of Human Rights mission, in May 2006 -Meetings with officials from several embassies and consulates accredited in Rabat
Brahim Sabbar has also been involved in numerous interviews arranged by written and radio mass media communications in some countries, particularly, Morocco, France, Spain, Denmark, Holland, Switzerland, Algeria and Western Sahara.
Since May 2005, the violent situation against the Sahrawi people in the illegally Occupied Territory of Western Sahara has become more serious, and hundreds of Sahrawi citizens, including human rights activists, have been and are being illegally detained, tortured, interrogated and incarcerated, even murdered, for their participation in peaceful demonstration that claim the right to self-determination for the Sahrawi people. In the face of these grave human rights violations perpetrated by the Moroccan regime against the Sahrawi civil population and the danger that implies for their individual and collective physical integrity, WE DEMAND:
.The immediate release of BRAHIM SABBAR, Secretary-General of the Sahrawi Association of Victims of Grave Human Rights Violations Committed by the Moroccan State.
.The immediate release of all Sahrawi political prisoners, the clarification of the fate of the disappeared, the cessation of the persecution and harassment of Sahrawi human rights defenders, and the prosecution of the culprits.
.The withdrawal of all security forces deployed in the streets of all the occupied Sahrawi cities.
.The free entrance and circulation of all international observers and the mass media in the territory.
.The Moroccan realization of the international legality towards Western Sahara territory.
It is enclosed a letter to send to all addresses of the Moroccan Government indicated above:
Addresses and Fax
Its Majesty, the King Mohammed VI Ibn Al Hassan, Roi du Maroc, Palais Royal, Rabat, Maroc, Fax : + 212 37 73 07 72
Mr. Abbas El Fassi, Prime Minister, Bureau du Premier Ministre et Ministre des Affaires Etrangères et de la Coopération, Palais Royal, Rabat, Maroc, + Fax : 212 37 76 99 95 / 91 95 / 77 68 37
Mr.Adelouahed Radi , Minister for Justice, Ministère de la Justice, Place Mamounia, Rabat, Maroc, Fax: + 212 37 72 37 10 / 73 07 72 / 73 89 40
Mr. Chakib Ben Moussa, Minister of the Interior, Quartier Administratif, Rabat, Maroc, Fax : 212 37 76 20 56
Mr. Fassi El Fahri, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Avenue F. Roosevelt, Rabat, Maroc. Fax: +212 37 76 55 08/ 46 79. E-mail: email@example.com. ma
Consultative Council of Human Rights (CCDH), Place des Chouhada, B.P. 1341, Rabat, Maroc. Fax : + 212 220.127.116.11. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. ma
Permanent mission of the Moroccan Kingdom in United Nations in Geneva, Chemin François-Lehmann 18a, Case postale 244, 1218 Grand-Saconnex, Suisse, E-mail : mission.maroc@ ties.itu. int, fax: +41 22 791 81 80
Diplomatic mission of the Moroccan Kingdom in Brussels, 2 avenue F.D. Roosevelt, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgique, Fax : + 32 2 626 34 34
------------ -- LETTER ADDRESSED TO THE MOROCCAN GOVERNMENT
I have been following with the utmost concern the degradation of the human rights situation facing the Sahrawi population under Moroccan occupation. This is a consequence of the repressive system established in the Western Sahara territory through the deployment of multiple security forces that have ill-treated, kidnapped and tortured peaceful Sahrawi demonstrators, and the persecution and harassing of human rights defenders, impeding the exercise of their fundamental rights, and the free expression of their legitimate right to self-determination.
I am equally alarmed by the situation of the political prisoner BRAHIM SABBAR, Secretary-General of the ASVDH organization, as well as the unknown number of Sahrawi political prisoners in the prisons of El-Ayoun, Ait Meloul, Tiznit, Inzegan, Bouzakaren, Salé and Kenitra. These prisoners have been tortured, interrogated, subjected to unfair trials and condemned in an illegally way. Some have beome internationally recognised as prisoners of opinion.
In the face of this grave situation of humiliations and violations of their fundamentals rights against international human rights conventions and International Humanitarian Law, I DEMAND:
The immediate and unconditional release of BRAHIM SABBAR AND ALL THE SAHARAWI POLITICAL PRISONERS.
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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