The reception of Brahim Ghali in Spain provokes protests within the European Parliament

The presence of the head of the Polisario Front on Spanish territory, hospitalised in Logroño, arouses indignation within the EU institution
Extraordinary Plenary Session of the EU Parliament

REUTERS/FRANCOIS LENOIR  -   Extraordinary Plenary Session of the EU Parliament

The attitude of the Spanish authorities to the information concerning the reception of the leader of the Polisario Front, Brahim Ghali, on Spanish territory to be hospitalised in a hospital in Logroño, arouses indignation within the European Parliament. 

MEP Tomáš Zdechovský, a member of the European Parliament, opposed this decision on Saturday as going against the values and principles of Europe, according to the Moroccan news agency MAP. "How is it possible for the Spanish authorities to allow the illegal entry under a false identity of a person like Brahim Ghali, who is accused of committing acts of rape?" the Czech MEP asked. "This goes against our values and principles," he said, according to MAP.

The reception by Spain of the Polisario Front leader, who defends the independence of Western Sahara, allegedly under a false identity and with allegedly forged documents in coordination with the Algerian state in order to be hospitalised, as various media and analysts such as Jeune Afrique have pointed out, has aroused reactions of reprobation.

Brahim Ghali has been charged in court for allegedly carrying out terrorist acts. Several Sahrawi human rights activists had filed a complaint with the Spanish justice system against the head of the Sahrawi independence movement for crimes against humanity, genocide, torture, forced disappearance and rape, as various media have been pointing out, and urged that he be brought before the courts. 

Brahim Ghali

The Spanish government agreed to give medical treatment to the Sahrawi leader, despite the controversy surrounding Brahim Ghali and his pending accounts with the courts. Precisely, the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha González Laya, referred to the reception of Ghali, framing it as a decision related to humanitarian issues, but recognising that she will collaborate with the justice system in any process that could be carried out in the possible case against the Polisario Front leader. 

The information on Brahim Ghali's presence in Spain provoked a strong reaction from Morocco, which, through its Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, asked the Spanish government for explanations for harbouring Ghali. All this took place in the context of a political conflict over Western Sahara, in which the Alawite kingdom receives majority support at the international level in relation to its formula for autonomy of the Sahrawi territory under Moroccan sovereignty, including the support of nations such as the United States and the United Arab Emirates, which announced the opening of consulates in strategic enclaves such as Dakhla and El Aaiún, which was a major boost to Morocco's support. In the face of the Polisario Front's position, which advocates a referendum on independence, an option that has few supporters on the international stage, including Algeria, Morocco's neighbour and political rival in North Africa.