Thursday, 3 December 2009

Sahrawi independence activist Hunger Strike: Aminatou Haidar

Her Kafkaesque plight – which began when Ms Haidar refused to fill in the citizenship line of a customs form – has spurred an outpouring of support by Spanish artists and intellectuals such as film director Pedro Almodovar. They staged a concert outside Madrid at the weekend to pressure the Spanish government into doing more to help Ms Haidar return home.

Portuguese Nobel laureate Jose Saramago was expected to visit her at the airport yesterday. A representative from the Robert F Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights in Washington, Marselha Goncalves Margerin, is also by her side. The RFK Centre awarded her its 2008 prize, for denouncing human rights abuses by the Moroccan government.

"I think Morocco miscalculated about the amount of support she has all over the world," Ms Goncalves Margerin said. But so far she has rejected offers of Spanish nationality, as well as political asylum in Spain. They are unacceptable, according to her lawyer, Ines Miranda, because they would make her "a foreigner in her own land".

"The Independent"