It is unacceptable Moroccans continue to be held for such a long time by Polisario, AI official
Morocco-Algeria, Politics, 2/14/2005
It is unacceptable that Moroccan nationals "continue to be incarcerated for such a long time" in Polisario jails in Tindouf (South-west Algeria), said Claudio Cordone, Director general of London-based Amnesty International.
Cordone told the Moroccan news agency (MAP), in London, his organisation launched many calls and made many moves to obtain the release of the Moroccans detained By the Polisario in the region of Tindouf. "It is unacceptable that these people continue to be held prisoners for such a long time," said Cordone stressing the resolve of his organisation to keep on efforts to put an end to the suffering of these people. "The immoral detention of these people is a flagrant violation of the international humanitarian law," he went on to say. The Algeria-backed Polisario, which has been claiming the separation of the Moroccan Southern provinces, known as the Sahara, from the motherland, since 1975 when Morocco retrieved the provinces from Spain in line with the Madrid accords, signed by Madrid, Rabat and Nouakchott, has been detaining Moroccan nationals, some for the longest time in the world.
One of the call was made on September 5, 2003, on the 12th anniversary of the day on which the Moroccan authorities and the Polisario formally ended 16 years of armed hostilities, whereby Amnesty International reiterated its call for the immediate release and repatriation of Moroccan prisoners still being detained by the Polisario Front. "It is high time that these men are allowed to return home to their families," the organization had said. "Most of the men have been detained for over two decades. Among them are old and sick people, whose release must be a priority." According to the Third Geneva Convention, all prisoners of war must be released without delay after the cessation of active hostilities. AI had, at the time, urged the Polisario to immediately release all remaining prisoners. "The continued detention of these men over a decade after the declaration of a cease-fire is a grave abuse of their right to physical and mental integrity," the organization added.
Claudio Cordone, heading a delegation of Amnesty International, paid a visit to Morocco last January 5 through 21, during which period he had had a series of meetings with Moroccan Officials.
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