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Agence France-Presse

Western Sahara Hunger Strike Activist Hospitalized: Aide

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Western Sahara independence activist Aminatou Haidar, pictured last week, was taken to hospital at her own request early Thursday from the Spanish airport where she has been staging a hunger strike for more than a month, one of her aides said. (AFP image)

LANZAROTE, Spain  - Western Sahara independence activist Aminatou Haidar was taken to hospital at her own request early Thursday from the Spanish airport where she has been staging a hunger strike for more than a month, one of her aides said.

The aide, Edi Escobar, said Haidar was taken to hospital by ambulance shortly after midnight to be examined by doctors after suffering severe nausea and abdominal pains.

Hospital sources said she had also vomited blood. They said she is severely dehydrated but remains conscious, and emphasised that she would not be force-fed.

Escobar said Haidar plans to maintain the hunger strike she began on November 16 to force Morocco to allow her to return home.

Haidar launched the protest in Lanzarote airport, in Spain's Canary Islands, days after Rabat denied her entry to her native Western Sahara, a disputed territory annexed by Morocco in 1975.

The 42-year-old mother of two, a leading activist for the independence of Western Sahara, was returning to her hometown of Laayoune after a trip to receive a human rights award in the United States.

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