See also:
» 05.03.2011 - Peaceful Western Sahara anti-government protests
» 28.02.2011 - Even Sahrawis plan pro-democracy protests
» 11.10.2010 - Sahrawis awake to government opposition
» 22.12.2008 - Morocco repress Sahrawi population - HRW
» 05.10.2006 - UN slams Morocco on abuses in Western Sahara
» 24.11.2005 - Amnesty denounces abuse in Western Sahara
» 21.07.2005 - Western Sahara activists jailed for protests
» 13.06.2005 - 101 injured in Western Sahara Intifada

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Western Sahara
Human rights | Society

Prominent Sahrawi activists "tortured in prison"

afrol News, 25 July - Two of the most prominent human rights defenders of Western Sahara are currently held detained by the Moroccan occupying forces, allegedly tortured severely while in detention. Noumri Brahim and Ali Salem Tamek, both of bad health due to earlier detentions and torture, are "suffering barbarous corporal punishment," according to Sahrawi sources. They join hundreds of other detained Sahrawi activists.

Mr Tamek, an activist from the southern Moroccan town of Assa, on Monday last week was detained upon arrival in El Aaiun, the capital of Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara. The prominent activist had been in Spain for several weeks, obtaining medical treatment for injuries sustained during his earlier detentions in Moroccan prisons and his numerous hunger strikes.

The Sahrawi human rights activist is now reported to have been held in the infamous Black Jail in El Aaiun since Thursday, after having been "interrogated by different sorts of Moroccan security services in the central police station in Smara Street, El Aaiun for three days," local sources told afrol News. The use of torture is systematic in the Black Jail and Mr Tamek on various earlier occasions has been severely tortured by Moroccan officials.

Mr Tamek's health is reported to be "critical" as he suffers from different kinds of illnesses such as rheumatism, asthma, stomackache, intestines and other skin diseases. There are serious medical concerns that the activist not may survive a new round of torture, detention and hunger strikes.

Concerns are also high over Brahim Noumria, one of the co-founders of the now dissolved Sahara branch of the Forum for Truth and Justice. Mr Noumria earlier has been subjected to severe torture during his "disappearance", which has set the 40-year-old Sahrawi strongly back physically.

According to reports smuggled out of Mr Noumria's detention centre, the human rights defender currently "has a very grave health situation and is subjected to humiliations and torture by local Moroccan police officers." The report, which emphasised Mr Noumria's poor health, details several torture practices used against the Sahrawi activist.

Moroccan security forces last week intensified the crackdown on Sahrawi activists that have defended or taken part in the recent popular uprising in the occupied territory and in Morocco. More than hundred Sahrawis have been detained for participating in the "Intifada" during the last months, and all that have been released detail systematic torture practices aimed at intimidating them.

According to local sources in the southern Moroccan city of Marrakech, a 20-year-old Sahrawi activist on Friday died of the injuries sustained during torture. Hammo Rahali had been arrested during the June protests in El Aaiun and was taken to the Black Jail. On 23 June, he was taken from prison to Marrakech to receive medical treatment after having "vomiting blood". The youngster has been declared a "martyr of the Intifada".

Mohamed Sidati, the Minister of European Affairs of the exiled Sahrawi government, in a statement this weekend strongly condemned the detention of Mr Tamek and other Sahrawi activists in the occupied territory. Mr Sidati expressed his protests against "a Morocco that does not stop to act cruelly against the entire civilian Sahrawi population that rejects the Moroccan colonial yoke."

In Western Sahara, meanwhile, the wave of detentions has not stopped the popular "Intifada". Also this weekend, protest marches were organised in El Aaiun. The protesters, shouting slogans in favour of Western Sahara's independence, were again brutally stopped by Moroccan police forces, causing several wounded.

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