Brahim Ghali

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Brahim Ghali
إبراهيم غالي
Brahim Ghali.jpg
Ghali in 2019
3rd President of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
Assumed office
12 July 2016
Prime MinisterAbdelkader Taleb Omar (2003 – 2018)
Mohamed Wali Akeik (2018 – 2020)
Bouchraya Hammoudi Bayoun (2020 – present)
Preceded byKhatri Addouh (interim)
Sahrawi Ambassador to Algeria
In office
5 June 2010 – 12 July 2016
Prime MinisterAbdelkader Taleb Omar
Preceded byMohamed Yeslem Beissat
Succeeded byAbdelkader Taleb Omar
Sahrawi Ambassador to Spain
In office
September 1999 – February 2008
Prime MinisterBouchraya Hammoudi Bayoun
Abdelkader Taleb Omar
Preceded byOmar Mansour
Succeeded byBouchraya Hammoudi Bayoun
Minister of Defense
In office
5 March 1976 – 5 March 2005
Prime MinisterMohamed Lamine Ould Ahmed
Mahfoud Ali Beiba
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byMohamed Lamine Bouhali
Personal details
Born (1949-09-16) 16 September 1949 (age 72)
Smara, Spanish West Africa
NationalitySpanish[1]
Sahrawi
Political partyMovement for the Liberation of Saguia el Hamra and Wadi el Dhahab (1969–1970)
Polisario Front

Brahim Ghali (/ˈɡɑːli/) (Arabic: إبراهيم غالي, romanizedIbrāhīm Ġālī; Spanish: Brahim Gali; born 16 September 1949) is a Sahrawi politician and military officer that serves as the current president of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) and former SADR ambassador to Algeria and Spain.[2][3]

Ghali has served as a historic figure and played a key role in the struggle of the Sahrawi people for self-determination and independence from Morocco. He was instrumental in the creation of the Movement for the Liberation of the Saguia el Hamra and Wadi el Dhahab,[4] the 1970 Zemla Intifada against Spanish rule,[5] the foundation of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Río de Oro (Polisario Front) in 1973, and the Sahrawi Republic in 1976. He also played a major role in the Western Sahara War and establishment of MINURSO, the UN peacekeeping mission for the Western Sahara.

Early life[edit]

Ghali was born in Smara on 16 September 1949 (although other sources[which?] claimed he was born in Bu Craa). Ghali joined the Spanish-led Nomadic troops in the late 1960s and was subsequently dispatched to Smara for administrative work. After several meetings with Mohamed Bassiri and other Sahrawi political leadership, they decided to create the AOLS in 1969, with Ghali being the affiliation secretary of the organization. He participated in the AOLS demonstration held in El Aaiun on June 16, 1970, which passed to be known as the Zemla Intifada. Detained that same night by Spanish soldiers, he was sentenced to one year in prison for his political activities. He was freed in 1971 but was briefly detained again in 1972 for taking part in demonstrations.

Political career[edit]

Ghali was one of the original founders and leaders of the Polisario Front in 1973 and was elected as the first General Secretary of the movement at its constitutive congress. Alongside El Uali Mustapha Sayed, Ghali led the El-Khanga raid, the first military action of the POLISARIO against a desert post of the Spanish Army, overrunning the position and gathering weapons and equipment.[6] In 1974, as El Uali was elected as the new POLISARIO General Secretary, Ghali was selected to command the Sahrawi People's Liberation Army, its military wing.

On October 22, 1975, Ghali, El Uali, and Mahfoud Ali Beiba met General Federico Gómez de Salazar, the Spanish governor of the territory on the first official encounter between representatives of the Spanish government and the POLISARIO. Negotiations broke off shortly thereafter, with Ghali do not attending another meeting with Gómez de Salazar on October 29, while the Spanish government declared a curfew on El Aaiun.[7]

On 4 March 1976, he was designated as the defense minister of the first government of SADR, proclaimed in Bir Lehlou on February 27. He remained in that post until 1989 when he was chosen as Commander-in-chief of the Second Military Region.

At an election held on July 9, 2016, in the Sahrawi refugee camps in Tindouf, Ghali was chosen as the next President and Secretary-General of SADR. Ghali replaced longtime leader Mohamed Abdelaziz, who died on May 31, 2016.[8] Ghali paid a presidential visit to the Nigerian President, President Mohammadu Buhari on Thursday, June 13, 2019, at the villa in Abuja, Nigeria.[9]

A complaint was filed against him in 2013 for alleged rape and sexual abuse of Khadijatou Mahmoud Mohamed Zoubeir. In addition, the ASADEDH (Spanish: Asociación Saharaui para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos) filed a lawsuit against him in Spain for alleged torture.[10][11][12][13][14] The ASADEDH was criticized as its chairman, Ramdane Messaoud, is a member of the Moroccan Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs.[15] Provisionally dismissed, the lawsuits were reopened after Ghali's arrival to Spain in 2021 to recover from a critical health state due to COVID-19.[10] Then, on 19 May 2021, the Spanish Audiencia Nacional summoned him to testify as a defendant in the case presented by the ASADEDH and Fadel Breica; Ghali testified via videoconference from the Hospital San Millán-San Pedro in Logroño as he was recovering from COVID-19 on the 1 June 2021.[16] Judge Santiago Pedraz [es] determined the accusing parties had not brought any evidence whatsoever (not even indicative) hinting at Ghali's culpability.[17]

Shortly afterwards, Ghali left Spain and landed in Algeria on 2 June 2021,[18] continuing with the less acute phase of his recovery in the Ain El Naaja military hospital in Algiers, where he was visited by Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ González, Miguel (24 September 2021). "El documento que acredita la nacionalidad española de Gali desde 2004" (in Spanish). El País. Archived from the original on 24 September 2021. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
  2. ^ "Ambassador Brahim Gali condoles family of Abdelhamid Mehri". Sahara Press Service. 2012-02-02. Archived from the original on 2015-01-20. Retrieved 2012-09-05.
  3. ^ "The Polisario accused AQIM of kidnapping 3 Europeans". Ennahar online. 2011-10-23. Archived from the original on 2015-01-20. Retrieved 2012-09-05.
  4. ^ "Declaración de Mohamed Bassir (1970)". Desaparecidos.org. Retrieved 2012-09-05. (in Spanish),
  5. ^ "Brahim Gali". Diario Vasco. 2007-07-26. Retrieved 2012-09-05. (in Spanish)
  6. ^ Bárbulo, Tomás (2002). La historia prohibida del Sáhara Español. Barcelona: Ediciones Destino / Colección Imago Mundi vol. 21. pp. 110–115. ISBN 978-84-233-3446-9.
  7. ^ "Toque de queda en el Sáhara". ABC. 1975-10-29. Retrieved 2012-10-05. (in Spanish)
  8. ^ "Western Sahara's Polisario Front Elects Leader". Al Monitor. 2016-07-12. Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  9. ^ Television, Oak (13 June 2019). "Buhari receives Saharawi President, Brahim Ghali". OAK TV. Retrieved 14 June 2019.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ a b "Manuel Ollé, el abogado que logró el procesamiento de doce militares y policías marroquíes por genocidio". Tercera Información. 29 May 2021.
  11. ^ Qui est Brahim Ghali, le candidat unique à la succession de Mohamed Abdelaziz?. Huffington Post, 5 juillet 2016
  12. ^ Western Sahara-Polisario: New Leader Wanted by Spanish Justice, MedAfrica Times, 12 juillet 2016
  13. ^ Atlasinfo. "#BalanceTonPorc : Khadijatou Mahmoud dénonce son viol par le chef du Polisario, Brahim Ghali". Atlasinfo.fr (in French). Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  14. ^ "Procès à Madrid contre des tortionnaires du Polisario" Archived 2019-04-09 at the Wayback Machine, La Nouvelle Tribune, 11 mars 2014.
  15. ^ "El promotor de la querella contra el líder del Polisario fue nombrado por el rey de Marruecos para su Consejo sobre el Sáhara". www.publico.es. Retrieved 2022-03-09.
  16. ^ "El avión que partió de Argel con destino Logroño dió la vuelta por instrucciones de los controladores militares". eldiario.es. 1 June 2021.
  17. ^ "Gali prepara su salida inminente de España en plena crisis con Marruecos". La Vanguardia. 1 June 2021.
  18. ^ "Western Sahara independence leader lands in Algiers amid diplomatic row". Reuters. 2 June 2021. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  19. ^ Fernández, Juan José (2 June 2021). "Ghali, hospitalizado en una clínica militar de Argel". El Periódico (in Spanish).
Political offices
Preceded by President of the Sahrawi Republic
2016–present
Incumbent