Moroccan soldier repatriated from Tindouf, dies
Morocco-Algeria, Politics, 1/25/2005
A Moroccan soldier held captive for 17 years by the Polisario separatist group in Tindouf camps (Algeria) and repatriated Saturday to Morocco, died Monday in the military hospital of "Avicenne" in Marrakech.
Mohamed Lahmadi was seriously ill when he was repatriated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) with another Moroccan soldier who was also in a poor health condition. The latter was detained for 16 years by the Polisario separatists, an Algeria-backed guerrilla movement claiming the separation of Morocco's southern provinces, known as the Sahara.
Mohamed Lahmadi will be buried in the south Moroccan Atlantic city of Essaouira at the request of his wife.
The Moroccan ministry of foreign affairs and cooperation which announced the release of the two men, on Saturday, had "strongly deplored that their jailers have awaited the deterioration of their health to accept to release them."
Following their liberation, Morocco called on the international community to make more pressures on parties responsible for this peculiar and critical humanitarian situation so as to put an end to the plight experienced by hundreds of Moroccan prisoners in the Algerian territory."
Morocco also deplored the immoral conditions of captivity and continuous deterioration of physical, psychological and moral health of 410 Moroccan prisoners still held in detention, and denounced the political exploitation, bargaining and cynical calculations of the situation of these prisoners, through partial releases.
The ICRC and the United Nations Organization have repeatedly urged for the liberation of the Moroccan prisoners, some of whom have been held by the Polisario for nearly three decade. They are described by some humanitarian organizations as the longest-serving prisoners of war in the world.
The ICRC which had welcomed the release of the two Moroccan soldiers said "it remains concerned about the deteriorating health of the 410 Moroccans still in captivity and reiterates its call for their release, in accordance with international humanitarian law."
The Geneva-based UN body recalled that its delegates generally visit the Moroccan prisoners twice a year in order to assess the conditions in which they are held and their physical and mental health.
End of HCR visits exchanges between Moroccan families in Southwestern Algeria and those in Morocco
New visit exchange between families in southern Morocco and Tindouf
Sahrawi sequestered in Tindouf camps decides to stay in Morocco
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