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Polisario Front leader testifies before National Tribunal as tension between Spain and Morocco continues to escalate

Posted: Tuesday June 01, 2021 6:04 AM

Brahim Ghali, leader of the Polisario Front, testifies this Tuesday before the National Court. However, he will do so electronically, from the San Pedro de Logroño Hospital, where he has been admitted since April 18 for coronavirus after entering Spain with a false identity, a fact that triggered a diplomatic crisis with virtually no precedent between our country and Morocco. .

This will be the first time that Ghali will be tried in the cases against him for alleged crimes of genocide, torture and against humanity. Concretely, Judge Santiago Pedraz will question the former secretary general of the Polisario Front on two questions: on the one hand, the complaint lodged by the Saharawi activist of Spanish nationality Fadel Breika, who accuses him of illegal detention, torture and cons humanity in the camps of Tindouf (Algeria).

The other, promoted in 2008 by the Sahrawi Association for the Defense of Human Rights (ASAEHD). This organization accuses Ghali of genocide “together with crimes of murder, injury, illegal detention, terrorism, torture and disappearances” as well as 24 other members of the Polisario Front and three officers of the Algerian army. Judicial sources told LaSexta that the leader of the Polisario Front intends to deny his participation in the events for which he is accused.

It should be noted that already in 2016 and 2019, the Spanish justice attempted to question Brahim Ghali for some of the aforementioned crimes upon learning of the intention of the leader of the Polisario Front to visit Spain. However, Ghali was never seated on the dock as he could not be located on both occasions. The arrival of the self-proclaimed leader of the Sahrawis in Spain and his transfer to a hospital in the capital of La Rioja have created a real framework of tension with Morocco which has not yet been resolved.

An unprecedented crisis

The entry of thousands of migrants in Ceuta after the opening of Morocco’s borders has provoked a serious conflict. Although at first the reasons for this crisis were not explicitly expressed, the Moroccan ambassador in Madrid was one of the first personalities to express that “in the relations between countries there are acts which have consequences ”and“ must be assumed ”, in veiled reference to Spain’s decision to provide medical care to Ghali.

The situation between the two countries is far from being resolved. A statement from the foreign ministry of the neighboring country underlines that the reason for the “serious diplomatic crisis” between the two nations goes further, pointing to the “hostile ulterior motives of Spain towards the Moroccan Sahara” . Compare this consideration with the Catalan ‘lawsuit’: “What would have been the reaction of Spain if a representative of separatism had been received at the Moroccan Royal Palace?”

Respect and trust cannot be built if borders are not respected and if immigrants are allowed to enter Spain. It is unacceptable”

Similarly, Morocco warns: the diplomatic crisis does not begin with the arrival of the leader of the Polisario Front and will not end with his departure. Some statements that the Spanish government did not accept, as it did not with previous warnings from Rabat. Precisely, shortly after this statement was released, Pedro Sánchez made an appearance to respond in a resounding and direct manner.

“Respect and trust cannot be built if, due to a foreign policy disagreement, borders are not respected and immigrants are allowed to enter Spain. This is unacceptable and I reject it”, declared the chief executive, while declaring the European Union, it is Spain which is fighting for their demands. An EU that has shown solidarity and supported Spain from the start of the massive influx of migrants to Ceuta.

In the same vein as Sánchez, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Arancha González Laya, defended before the Congress of Deputies that the crisis with Morocco was born from an act that did not no political connotation and that of the government “they do not seek nor want to feed themselves.” For its part, Morocco insisted that the Spanish government take a clear position on the Sahara issue, and reaffirmed that this crisis is not linked to migration.

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