Polisario leader returns to Algeria amid Spain-Morocco quarrel

(Update 1: Adds Algerian president’s visit)

Algiers, Jun 2 (EFE).- Polisario Front leader Brahim Gali has returned from Spain to Algeria, where he will continue to recover from a bout of Covid-19 at a military hospital, a senior member of the pro-Western Sahara independence movement told Efe Wednesday.

Algerian Abdelmadjid Tebboune visited Gali at the hospital and thanked Spain for treating him.

Accompanied by his army’s chief of staff Saïd Chengriha, Tebboun, whose country supports the Polisario Front, praised Gali for “appearing before the Spanish justice”.

Gali was summoned before the National Court judge after two accusations were filed against him for alleged crimes against humanity, torture and repression of his opponents.

The judge declined to remand him in custody or withhold his passport, citing a lack of evidence.

“You have shown that the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic is a Republic of law and always complies with the law,” said Tebboune.

“We are militants anywhere and in any condition,” Gali replied, adding “I am in good psychological and physical condition, since I am in Algiers”.

Morocco, Algeria’s main regional rival, claims full sovereignty over Western Sahara, an expansive former Spanish colony on the Atlantic coast of North Africa.

The Polisario Front spokesperson said the crisis that erupted between Rabat and Madrid after Gali was admitted to Spain for treatment on 18 April had been “a failed attempt by Morocco to fabricate a conflict.”

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