Aminatou Haidar, citizen of honour of Italian town of Montespertoli

Rome, July 27th, 2011 (SPS) - The Sahrawi activist Aminatou Haidar, a women symbolizing the peaceful struggle for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara, has been awarded "Citizen of Honour" of the Italian town of Montespertoli, announced Montespertoli Town Council in a statement.
The ceremony held for that purpose took place in the presence of the Saharawi representative in Tuscany, Abdella Mohamed Salem, and an invited group of Saharawi children in Italy.
"This is the first time the municipality of Montespertoli gives such recognition to a personality of the importance of Aminatou Haidar, who with her courage and persistence embodies all the injustices that the Saharawi people suffered for many years "underlined the statement.
By giving honorary citizenship to this woman, Montespertoli City Council considered that it was "a concrete gesture of condemnation of violence perpetrated by the Moroccan authorities," against the Saharawi people.
Born in 1967, Ms. Haidar is Sahrawi human rights who lives in El Aaiun, the occupied capital of Western Sahara, recalled the same source, indicating that in 2005, she participated in the nonviolent intifada for independence of Western Sahara. She was arrested and imprisoned in the "dark prison" in El Aaiun June 17 of that year and tortured during interrogation.
After this episode, Amnesty International expressed grave concern about the situation of the Saharawi prisoners in Morocco and the occupied territories of Western Sahara, and in particular Ms. Haidar, sentenced in December 14, 2005 to 7 months in prison by a Moroccan court in El Aaiun. An international campaign to release Ms. Haidar began from there, in particular with the intervention of the European Parliament which called for her immediate release.
January 17, 2006, after seven months in prison, Ms. Haidar was released. Her release promoted the organization of many other events by the Saharawi people in the occupied territories, added the City Council of Montespertoli.
"The media campaigns and the support of associations and policies of Western countries allowed Haidar to be authorized to travel abroad, where she played the role of Goodwill Ambassador of SADR, forging official contacts with governments and international associations to support the Saharawi people ", the statement reminded.
November 15, 2006, she returned to Western Sahara to engage in the first act of civil disobedience. Two years later, She was prevented from returning to her home by the Moroccan authorities, which yielded to international pressure after a hunger strike of Ms. Haidar for several weeks at an airport in the Canary Islands. In tribute to the courage of this woman, many municipalities in Italy have awarded her honorary citizenship. (SPS)


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