Wednesday, November 5, 2003


Colonel President Azali Assoumani

Freedom for Said Larifou! Democracy in Comoros!

PARIS: The Comoros are locked in an endless social, economic and democratic crisis with frightening consequences for the present and future.

Under the relentless control of Colonel President Azali Assoumani, the Union of Comoros suffers increasingly intolerable infringements of human rights and democratic freedoms. Still without an elected national or local assembly, despite the "Foumboni 2" agreements reached under the auspices of the international community, the Comoros are more than ever directed autocratically and without a system of democratic checks and balances.

It is impossible to count the cases of pure and simple censorship of the written press and the radio. Unjustified and illegal arrests are increasing people from all walks of life are thrown into prison without legal recourse. They share the common will to reject this unbearable situation. They are disliked and feared by the ruling caste who controls the power "for" and "by" itself.

We firmly denounce this inhuman situation which serves to accentuate the isolation of the Comoros on the international scene; their image is damaged, harming their development.

It is within this general framework that a great popular anger has spread in the Comoros, following the unilateral decision by the government to increase basic commodity prices, in particular that of food staples. The lawyer Said Larifou, president of the RIDJA party, having been particularly outspoken on this issue has paid a heavy price: he was brutally arrested and continues to be retained as a hostage in the Comoros - more than one month after his arrest - without the benefit of a trial and the right to leave Moroni! He is the victim not of a legal decision - he has not been charged - but of a political decision.

This must cease. Not only for Sa•d Larifou, but also for the whole of the Comorian people. It is time to stop these unjust methods which have made of Said Larifou a "symbol" despite himself, and from which no one has protection either now or in the future. We cannot accept that whomever peacefully demands freedom and democracy in the Comoros be thrown in prison!

This is why we solicit the Comorian community in France to demand the release of Said Larifou and democracy in Comoros. We address this plea not only to the Comorian authorities but also to governmental authorities, political parties and associations in France, Africa and in other parts of the world which can support this cause usefully and effectively. We have therefore decided to undertake peaceful mobilization actions in the next few days, and invite you to join the support committee chaired by Mrs. Said Larifou which is open to all people of goodwill who believe in humans right everywhere in the world.

Contact us : La RZunion / phone : 02 62 25 56 25 e-mail :

France Paris / mob: 06 85 80 4722

By MAHE AHMED posted 5 November 03


After a war waged by the U.S. military against Vietnam which took the lives of more than 3 million Vietnamese people and more than 58,000 GIs, the U.S. finally withdrew in 1975. It had suffered its first official major military defeat by a united people struggle led by the Vietnamese, along with a mass U.S. anti-war movement.