Atiqu Barrai
Atiqu Barrai

Ministre Mustafa Ramid
Minist?re de Justice
Place Mamounia
Rabat
Maroc
Fax: + 212 5 37 26 31 03
Email:?[email protected]

Dear Minister of Justice,

I am?William Nicholas Gomes, Human rights defender and Freelance journalist.

I would like to draw your attention to the following case.

On 11 May 2015, the trial of Mr Atiqu Barrai began at the Court of First Instance in the city of Dakhla in Western Sahara. The human rights defender was charged with ?offending public employees? and ?damaging public property?.

Atiqu Barrai is a member of the Western Sahara Organisation Against Torture and a prominent advocate for the Sahrawi people’s right to self-determination.

Following the reading of the charges, the trial of Atiqu Barrai and four other Sahrawi activists, Mr Mohamed Sidi Salem, Mr Ba Omar Sidi Ahmed, Mr Aldelimi Wanati, and Mr Essam Falah, was postponed to 18 May 2015. Atiqu Barrai had been arrested by Moroccan police at his family home in Dakhla on 2 May 2015 and detained in Torta Prison. The action against him follows Barrai’s participation in peaceful protests, which began in Dakhla on 28 April 2015, against the UN Security Council’s Resolution 2218 (2015) on Western Sahara. The protesters denounced the Resolution’s failure to facilitate progress in regards to the Sahrawi people’s right to self-determination. The human rights defender remains in detention.

Atiqu Barrai has previously been targeted as a result of his work in the defence of human rights in Western Sahara. The human rights defender was released on 14 November 2014, having served a three year prison sentence after he was falsely charged, along with five other human rights defenders, with ?forming a criminal gang?, ?complicity in murder?, ?violence against public employees? and ?damaging public property?. The judgement was made on 18 April 2012 by the El Ayoun Court of Appeal. He had been arrested on 14 November 2011 by Moroccan police forces near his family home in Dakhla.

I express my concern at the trial of Atiqu Barrai, and the charges lodged against him, as it believes them to be solely motivated by his legitimate work in the defence of human rights.

I urge the authorities in the Kingdom of Morocco to:

1. Immediately and unconditionally release Atiqu Barrai, and drop all charges and legal proceedings against him, as I believe that he is being held solely as a result of his legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of human rights;

2. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Western Sahara are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.

Sincerely,

William Nicholas Gomes

Human Rights defender & ?Freelance Journalist

Twitter?@wnicholasgomes

Email: [email protected]

www.facebook.com/williamnicholasgomes

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