Baroness Ashton of Upholland,
High Representative of the European Union
for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
please allow me to write to you as the President of the European Parliament's Intergroup for Western Sahara. The intergroup is a cross-party group of over 60 MEPs supporting a just, peaceful and lasting solution of the Western Sahara conflict. I am writing to raise the current issue of human rights abuse within the non-self-governing territories of Western Sahara.
We have been informed by representatives of Frente Polisario about 21 human rights defenders, who have been on hunger strike in Sale prison near Rabat in Morocco on 31 October 2011.
These activists were arrested in October last year due to their participation in a peaceful protest for self-determination near El Aaiun in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara.
They are demanding their right to a fair trial or to be unconditionally released and that their rights are respected within the prison.
The Collective of human rights defenders (CODESA) in Western Sahara reported that some of the prisoners are in poor health and are not receiving the medical care they are in need of.
Furthermore these prisoners are subjected to a military court but since they are civilians, they should not appear before a military court.
According to Amnesty International Report 2011, Saharawi prisoners are even tortured with the most common methods in prison.
The European Parliament has repeatedly expressed its concern about human rights in the territories of Western Sahara. We condemn the latest abuses and therefore call on the High Representative Baroness Ashton to take action on this case.
We hope for your cooperation in this important matter.
Norbert Neuser, MEP