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Western Sahara: UPDATE - Human rights defenders on hunger strike in protest at continued arbitrary detention
Front Line has received the following update in relation to the case of Western Saharan human rights defenders Mr Ali Salem Tamek, Mr Brahim Dahane, Mr Ahmad Anasiri, Mr Yahdih Ettarrouzi, Mr Rachid Sghayar and Mr Saleh Lebayhi who continue to be held in detention in Sale prison in Morocco.
Ali Salem Tamek, Brahim Dahane, Ahmad Anasiri,Yahdih Ettarrouzi and Rachid Sghayar have been on hunger strike since 18 March 2010, in protest against violations of their rights as prisoners of conscience. They also demand that either a date be set for trial or that they be released unconditionally.
As a result of their ongoing hunger strike, the health condition of these human rights defenders is deteriorating rapidly. They suffer from different ailments including loss of consciousness, fatigue, headaches, stomach-aches, asthma, cardiac and intestinal pain and loss of mobility. Saleh Lebayhi reportedly joined the hunger strike yesterday, 6 April 2010.
Ali Salem Tamek is the Vice-President of the Saharawi Collective of Human Rights Defenders (CODESA), Brahim Dahane is the President of the Saharawi Association of Victims of Grave Violations of Human Rights (ASVDH), Ahmad Anasiri is the General Secretary of the Saharawi Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in Smara, Yahdih Ettarrouzi is a member of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH), Rachid Sghayar is a member of the Action Committee Against Torture in Dakhla/Western Sahara and Saleh Lebayhi is the President of the Forum for the Protection of Saharawi Children and the head of the Samara branch of AMDH.
On 8 October 2009, the six aforementioned human rights defenders were arrested, along with Ms Dagja Lachgar, at Mohamed V Airport in Casablanca, Morocco. However, Dagja Lachgar was released on 28 January 2010.