Delegation visits Morocco to make case for Said Elhairech’s release

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A delegation from the International Transport Workers’ Federation is in Morocco to step up pressure on the country’s government to release from prison trade union leader Said Elhairech.

Elhairech, general secretary of the National Union of Dockers and ITF Arab World representative on the ITF dockers’ section committee, was arrested after assisting ships’ crews who were left stranded following Comarit-Comanav ferry company’s cessation of operations.

The ITF represents more than 4.5 million transport workers in 153 countries, including its UK affiliates Aslef, CWU, GMB, RMT, Nautilus International, Prospect, PCS, TSSA, Usdaw and Unite.

ITF executive member Mukhtar Hili from Tunisia and dockers’ section secretary Frank Leys are holding a series of high-level meetings and attempting to visit Said in prison. They are working closely with Meiloudi Mukhareq, general secretary of the Moroccan national trade union centre, UMT, to which Said’s dockers’ union is affiliated.

Frank Leys said: “Despite his being imprisoned for more than 40 days on ridiculous and politically motivated charges, we are told that Said is in good health and his morale is high. We are going to the  prison today to try to see him.

“We are relieved that the submission today by his new, ITF-appointed lawyer of a formal legal request for his provisional release meant that Said has decided to postpone his threatened hunger strike.

“We are, however, frustrated that Said’s judicial hearing has been postponed because another stage of the investigation has been ordered. A number of witnesses have given evidence already, including the former Mayor of Tangier, Samir Abdelmoula.

“Said was arrested on charges of endangering national security, which he completely denies. In fact, the charges recast the excellent work Said did at ITF’s request to help abandoned Comarit-Comanav crews.”

 

 


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