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Human Rights Watch reacts to the arrest of three Sahrawi activists in Tindouf

The Tindouf camps in Algeria. / Ph. DR
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New-York based international non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) has finally broken its silence on the case of the three Sahrawi activists Moulay Abba Bouzid, Fadel Breika and Mahmoud Zeidan, arrested in the Tindouf camps.

«The government-in-exile that administers the camps in Algeria for refugees from Western Sahara is detaining three critics while an investigating judge explores treason and other charges against them», HRW said Tuesday in a statement.

«Sahrawi authorities should show credible evidence that Bouzid, Breika, and Zeidan may be guilty of genuinely criminal acts and not just peacefully criticizing the Polisario (…) If they don’t have evidence to justify criminal charges, they should release all three», acting Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch Lama Fakih said.

The human rights association has spoken to the family and relatives of the three arrestees, especially those who had been able to visit them and even the separatist movement.

«In an email received on July 15 by Human Rights Watch, Sidi Omar, the UN representative for the Polisario Front in New York, wrote, ‘the defendants remain in preventive custody under judicial investigation [for charges including] treason against the nation, acts of aggression against the Sahrawi State, sedition, vandalism, defamation and slander’», the NGO reported.

«Algeria cannot subcontract the protection of human rights on its territory and turn a blind eye if the Polisario violates them», Fakih argued.

It is worth mentioning that the international NGO was contacted by Sahrawi human rights associations days after the disappearance of the three activists.  Amnesty International has not commented yet on the case.

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