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Association for the Monitoring of The Resources and for the Protection of the Environment in Western Sahara

El-Aaiun, Western Sahara: May 6th, 2016

Moroccan Authorities deport Two Polish Citizens from El-Aaiun city, Western Sahara

Press Release

El-Aaiun, Western Sahara , May 6th 2016: Moroccan authorities expelled two Polish citizens  from the city of El-Aaiun towards Agadir in South Morocco. Dominik Sipinski  and Anna Zuzanna Olczak. They entered  today ,at 9.30 a.m , the city of El-Aaiun afer being stopped at the City´s main entrance by a police checkpoint for nearly 40 minutes. After that, they  were able to get in the city where they stayed  as guests  at  a Saharawi house.  Their host was Abdelkrim Mbairkat who is a Saharawi ,native of El-Aaiun city. The purpose was to see for themselves the Western Sahara, its landscapes, its culture its people and its  controversies as Dominik is interested in travel  journalism among other things.  Anna is a graphic designer and is a painter as well fascinated by arts and exotic landscapes. After exactly one hour , the police , uniformed and plain-cloth, along with the local authorities besieged the whole area and banged on the door so heavily that they scared the residents of the building. They did not have any warrant  to speak with the visitors nor did they have the right to ask them to come out with their passport. After long discussions, the couple told the police that their final destination was Dakhla. The police agents told them that they would deport them to Dakhla if that was their final destination. The Polish guests were taken into custody by the police and were escorted in a police car to the checkpoint at the northern entrance of the City of El-Aaiun. They police lied to them and instead, they intended to send them back to Agadir in south Morocco, which is almost 700 Km away. The authorities and the police agents told them they can not go to Dakhla . No reasons was provided for the odd ban.
They were also told that it was forbidden to stay at  friends´house in El-Aaiun unless they had an authorization . The two Polish visitors denied any knowledge whatsoever of this new eccentric rule.After almost two hours of detention at El-Aaiun´s checkpoint, the police brought a hired ¨Grand Taxi¨ which also had other passengers , presumably undercover police agents. They set off on their expulsion journey to Agadir a little bit after 1.00 p.m heading towards Agadir city. Along the road, they are constantly checked by other police checkpoints.
In a conversation over the phone, Dominik expressed his astonishment towards this unreasonable and absurd act  of hostility  against him and his companion¨ I just do not know why they would do this to us!  We did not violate the law, and no rule was broken, thye just came and fetched us from the house without even allowing us the time to rest after such a long trip from south Morocco!¨. It is very obvious that Morocco is still not allowing free access to the disputed territory of Western Sahara. This is not the first case of depoprtation and expulsion. Few months ago, Moroccan authorities deported  almost ninety  foreign activists , observers and reports from Western Sahara. The due process is never given as a right to all these deportees.
Abdelkrim Mbairkat, a local Saharawi activist, expressed his resentment to such proceedings and ill-treatment of foreign guests¨I am deeply concerned and unhappy when such action takes place. Morocco does not seem to respect local and international laws. They just keep kicking out our guests , they all come in peace and what too get to know us, and to see for themselves how we survive such conditions. My guests today were  expelled, and this left a scar in my heart as we , Saharawis, are known for the great hospitality, and Morocco does not allows to extend such a thing to our guests. This is an embarrassment and a disgrace caused by the unethical and irresponsible act perpetrated by  the Moroccan authorities¨ Morocco seems to be breaking all the rules, and goes unpunished for all the crimes it commits against individuals, collectives,NGO´s and even against government.

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Association for the Monitoring of The Resources and for the Protection of the Environment in Western Sahara

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