Jean-Jacques Cornish

Saharawi President leaves Spain after treatment for COVID

President of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, Brahim Ghali has left Spain after six-weeks of treatment for COVID.

He is in Algiers tonight and will return to his country much of which has been illegally occupied by Morocco since 1975.

Algeria supports the SADR and provides shelter in refugee camps from where the government in  exile operates.

Morocco, which is an absolute monarchy, is furious at Spain providing medical treatment for Ghali.

The Madrid government insists it acted on perfectly justifiable humanitarian grounds

In retaliation last month, Moroccan guards were withdrawn from the Spanish enclave of Ceuta on the north African coast, allowing hundreds of people trying to flee the oppression the kingdom to swim around the fences into Spanish territory.

At least one man drowned in the process and the refugees were returned to Morocco.

A handful of  Moroccan-financed Saharawi made allegations of human rights abuses against Ghali.

Spanish judge Santiago Pedraz heard their evidence and  ruled there were no clear indications of Ghali’s involvement in any crimes. He rejected a call for Ghali to be detained.

Spanish  prosecutors have not pursued the matter.

Analysts say Morocco’s King Mohammed VI  has cut a rod for his back seeking legal action against Ghali.

It has created a precedent for legal action to be taken in Spain against the scores of Moroccan officials accused of human rights abuses against Saharawi nationals.

They risk arrest if the travel to or transit through Spain.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.