ontario news watch

Chief of Sahara's Polisario Front gets hospitalized in Spain

MADRID — Spain's foreign ministry says the leader of the Polisario Front that leads the struggle for the self-declared Western Sahara republic has been brought to Spain for medical treatment.

Brahim Ghali, who is 73, heads the Algeria-backed pro-independence group representing the local Sahrawi population that has fought Moroccan forces for control of the territory in western Africa.

An official with the Foreign Ministry of Spain who wasn’t authorized to be named in media reports said that Ghali had been taken to Spain "for strictly humanitarian reasons."

The official said that no more details could be provided due to the humanitarian nature of the move.

Spain’s National Court investigated Ghali in 2008 and then again in 2016 for possible genocide and other crimes as a result of allegations brought against the veteran militant by a dissident Sahrawi group.

But that probe was closed and Spain has no pending cases against Ghali, a police spokesman who was not authorized to speak to the media on the record told The Associated Press.

Aritz Parra, The Associated Press