Morocco does not want witnesses and expels five Spanish lawyers and two Norwegian observers from El Aaiún
-The Moroccan regime does not want international presence in the trial against the Saharawi journalist Nazha El -Kalhidi
-The Spanish lawyers are accredited by the General Council of Spanish Law
-“It is forbidden to enter El Aaiún”, explanation of the Moroccan police
Alfonso Lafarga (Contramutis).-Morocco has prevented five Spanish lawyers and two Norwegian observers from entering El Aaiún, the capital of Western Sahara, where they had traveled to attend the trial of Saharawi journalist Nazha El Kalhidi, accused of practicing without official certification.
“It is forbidden to enter El Aaiún”, is the only explanation received by lawyers Sidi Tallebuya, from Madrid; Ramón Campos García and María Lourdes Barón Jaques, from Zaragoza and Lala Travieso Darias and Rut Sebastián, from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, all of them accredited by the General Council of the Spanish Law, as well as the Norwegian observers of the RAFTO Foundation for Human Rights, Vegard Fosso Smievoll and Kjersti Brevik Moeller.
Immediately after arriving at passport control of the El Aaiún airport, at about 12h local time, a group of plainclothes and uniformed policemen have requested passports from the Spanish lawyers and Norwegian observers and two hours later they have been informed that they were not allowed to enter Western Sahara, the Spanish excolony that Morocco invaded more than 43 years ago.
Sidi Talebbuia, president of the Professional Association of Saharawi Lawyers in Spain (APRASE), told Contramutis that they have complied, as on other occasions, with all the necessary procedures. His trip was communicated by the General Council of Spanish Law in writing to the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which advises the Spanish Embassy in Rabat and the Moroccan authorities.
A police chief, which at no time was identified, accompanied by a dozen plainclothes officers and uniformed, told the group of observers, for all explanation, that they could not pass: “It is forbidden to enter El Aaiún.”
The president of APRASE has stated that they do not want them to attend the trial of Nazha El Kalhidi, of the Saharawi information group Equipe Media and correspondent of RASD TV, who can be sentenced to up to two years in prison for practicing journalism without official certification.
“It is the first time they make an accusation like this, not having an official journalist’s degree, the accusations against Saharawi activists have always been for other crimes,” said Talebbuia, who emphasizes Nazha El Kalhidi “has been doing quality informative work for many years. “, As endorsed by the recent international journalism prize Julio Anguita Parrado conceded to Equipe Media.
“It is intended to silence violations of human rights, that there are no witnesses, and to impede freedom of expression,” the president of APRASE has declared from the El Aaiún airport before being sent to Casablanca.
In addition, Talebbuia believes that they do not want them to witness the demonstrations organized for May 20 in El Aaiún, on the occasion of the 46th anniversary of the first armed action of the Polisario Front.
Nazha was detained on December 4, 2018 in El Aaiún, while transmitting a Saharawi demonstration on the occasion of negotiations in Geneva between the Polisario Front and Morocco. She was arrestesd, beaten and her mobil phone was confiscated, and at the police station she was interrogated for four hours. She was previously detained on August 21, 2016, while covering a women’s demonstration.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said that the application to the Saharawi journalist of article 381 of the Moroccan criminal code, referring to the crime of usurpation of functions without having an official title, is incompatible with Morocco’s obligation to respect the right to seek, receive and disseminate information and ideas, guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.