Union Freedom, Morocco Bound
SAID ELHAIRECH held in prison since June 16, and demonstration, stranded Comarit-Comanay seafarers, in May.
TRADE UNIONISTS in Spain and France have joined those in several African countries in raising their voices in support of jailed Morocan dockers' leader Said Elhairech, who has been held in prison since June 16.
Said, general secretary of Moroccan dockers union, Union des Syndicats UMT des Transports, was arrested in Casablanca on unfounded charges, including one relating to national security.
Three months later he is still being held in prison in the Moroccan capital of Rabat awaiting trial. He has already been denied bail.
The Spanish unions Transportes, Comunicaciones y Mar of the Unión General de Trabajadores and Servicios a la Ciudadanía of the Comisiones Obreras took part in a demonstration outside the Moroccan embassy in Madrid on September 14 to demand Elhairech’s release. They tried to hand over to the Moroccan ambassador a letter of protest, but embassy officials were hostile and refused to accept it. They left the letter on a desk within the building.
In Paris, the Force Ouvrière union also staged a protest outside the Moroccan embassy and presented officials with a letter.
Before his arrest Said Elhareich had been involved in high-profile cases, assisting in defending the rights of stranded Moroccan seafarers following the bankruptcy of the Comarit-Comanav ferry company, and securing a collective agreement in November for dockers in the Eurogate terminal in Tangiers.
The International Transport Workers Federation(ITF) believes the accusations against Said have been created in order to wage an attack on the trade union work of himself and his colleagues. "As such they amount to an attack on trade union rights in general in Morocco", it says..
The European Transport Workers’ Federation, the ITF’s European arm, passed a resolution at its dockers’ section meeting in Brussels on 13 September, condemning “the fact that the Moroccan government has so far ignored the appeals coming from unions from all around the world to free Said”, Delegates agreed to contribute to the ITF campaign to win justice for the Moroccan brother. They also appealed to the Court of Rabat to reconsider its decision to imprison Elhairech.
Meanwhile, unionists from across the Africa region, including ITF Africa’s women trade unionists, have sent approximately 3000 messages of solidarity demanding Elhairech’s release.
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