The Polisario Front arrested the Spanish activist in April after he denounced corruption and illegal fuel trafficking

Demonstration in Tindouf against the arrest of Mohammed Salem Sueid Malainin

photo_camera REUTERS/ZOHRA BENSEMRA - Boudjdour refugee camp in Tindouf

About fifteen people, mostly women, demonstrated in front of the General Secretariat of the Polisario Front in Tindouf, demanding the release of Mohammed Salem Sueid Malainin, a Spanish-Saharawi citizen arrested at the end of April.

According to the Barlamane portal, the demonstrators issued a statement in which they announced the creation of a committee "representing the various components of the Saharawi people" in order to contact the Polisario Secretary General, Brahim Ghali, to urge him to release the activist. The demonstrators also demand to bring to justice those who assaulted Mohammed Salem Sueid Malainin and to apply the laws and procedures stipulated in the framework of the fight against corruption

The activist was arrested on 30 April by a military patrol when he was driving to Tindouf with his wife. After being forcibly and violently removed from the car, the young man was brutally assaulted. He was then transferred to a prison called Dahbia near Rabouni, the administrative capital of the Polisario, according to the Saharawi Association for the Defence of Human Rights (ASADEH). The organisation has contacted the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Spanish Consul General in Oran, Jorge de Lucas Cardenas, asking for consular protection for the Spanish activist born in 1974 and based in the Basque Country.

"We demand the immediate intervention of the Spanish consular authorities to find out where Mohamed Salem is, as well as the solidarity of all civilians, society and organisations defending human rights", stressed ASADEH, which holds the leadership of the Polisario and the Algerian authorities responsible for "these outrages" against the Saharawi population and civilians. 

The arrest of Mohamed Salem Sueid Malainin came shortly after the activist posted a video on social networks denouncing corruption and illegal trafficking of fuel next to tankers immobilised by protesters who claimed that these tanks were part of a network controlled by some Polisario leaders.

ASADEH, as well as the Movement Saharawi for Peace (MSP), have denounced the campaign of repression and the new spiral of violence by the Polisario against Saharawi activists, who in recent weeks have organised a series of protests against the Polisario. Last month, for example, a group of young Sahrawis burned a barracks and several vehicles in Dakhla camp to denounce the lack of job opportunities, repression and restrictions imposed by the Polisario authorities.

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