Spanish police unions reject blame for hunger striker

13th December 2009, Comments 0 comments

Police unions accused the Spanish government on Saturday of trying to shirk responsibility in the case of a Western Sahara independence activist on an ongoing hunger strike in the Canary Islands.

Madrid - Police unions accused the Spanish government on Saturday of trying to shirk responsibility in the case of a Western Sahara independence activist on an ongoing hunger strike in the Canary Islands.

Aminatou Haider has been at Lanzarote airport since November 14, demanding her return home to Western Sahara after Morocco denied her entry and took her passport saying she had renounced her nationality.

In a joint statement, the Spanish Police Confederation and the Professional Syndicate of Police said the government was trying to shift blame for the embarrassing standoff onto the police.

This was after Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said Friday the decision to allow Haidar into Spain on her residence permit and without a passport was taken by administrative and not political authorities.

The unions said the Zapatero government was trying "to avoid its responsibility" and was being hypocritical and duplicitous.

The government had prevented Haidar being sent back to Morocco the same day because she did not have her passport, even though this would have been possible, the unions said.

Haidar, 42, has consumed only sugared water since November 16, after Moroccan authorities denied her entry at Laayoune airport in Western Sahara -- which Rabat annexed in 1975 and has refused independence.

Morocco says she renounced her Moroccan nationality at the airport, which she denies, and must apologise.

Haidar had been returning to Laayoune after receiving a human rights award in the United States. Washington and the European Union have raised concern about her state of health.

AFP/Expatica

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