Morocco refuses to let Saharan activist return home

5th December 2009, Comments 0 comments

Morocco denied permission for Western Sahara activist Aminatou Haidar to return home by plane on Friday after having earlier authorised the flight, Spain's foreign ministry said.

Madrid - Morocco denied permission for Western Sahara activist Aminatou Haidar to return home by plane on Friday after having earlier authorised the flight, Spain's foreign ministry said.

"The Spanish government requested permission this afternoon for the plane to fly over and land," to take Haidar to her hometown of Laayoune in Western Sahara from Spain's Canary Island of Lanzarote, a ministry spokesman said.

"Morocco granted this permission but it withdrew it just before the plane was to take off," he told AFP.

Spanish lawmaker Delia Blanco, who was on board the plane with Haidar, had earlier given similar information to news channel CNN+ by telephone.

Haidar, who campaigns for the independence of the Western Sahara from Morocco, had boarded the plane after calling off a 19-day hunger strike which she had staged at the airport on Lanzarote.

The 42-year-old had refused to eat since November 16, three days after Moroccan authorities denied her entry into her native Western Sahara, a disputed territory annexed by Morocco in 1975, and sent her back to Lanzarote.

AFP/Expatica

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