On July 29, tens of Sahrawis staged a protest to condemn the disappearance of El Khalil, who was arrested and kidnapped by Algerian forces and Polisario in 2009.
The protest took place in front of the high commission for refugees in Rabouni, Algeria.
El Khalil’s arrest came just a few weeks after the Polisario Front had appointed him to monitor human rights in the Tindouf camps. The forced disappearance, so soon after his appointment, raised further questions over human rights violations in the camps.
Protesters on Monday held banners and chanted slogans, emphasizing that “there is no alternative for the Polisario Front other than El Khalil’s freedom.”
The protesters asserted that they will accept no excuses from the front. The banners held by protesters read: “where is El Khalil,” “we are all El Khalil,” and “no to forced disappearance.”
The Polisario Front has made a series of unfulfilled promised to El Khalil’s family and supporters. The vows to reveal the fate of El Khalil remain unfulfilled.
In response to Polisario’s refusal to enter a dialogue or reveal the whereabouts of their missing relative, the family of El Khalil have been staging a sit-in front of the refugees commission for 16 days.
The extreme temperature in the deserted area led to the collapse of one of the El Khalil’s on Saturday, July 27.
A source told Morocco World News that Polisario refused to dispatch an ambulance for El Kahlil to take him to the hospital when he fainted.
El Khalil’s case is not the only pressure the Polisario Front is facing. Recently, human rights NGOs, including Human Rights Watch, have issued warning statements to the separatist group, urging it to release opposition activists, who are under arbitrary arrest.
In June, the Polisario Front arrested three activists for their participation in protests to condemn human rights violations in the camps.
Two of the activists have been on hunger strike, with one of them refusing to drink water.
The families of the activists also condemned Polisario’s unlawful detention of the activists.
The families of the detained activists said in a statement last week that they were “surprised” to know that gendarmerie members were attending hearings. The families condemned the gendarmerie’s presence, which constitutes a violation of the law, as they are not a party to the case.