Sahrawi Student Activist Arrested in El Aaiun

Equipe Media 04 September 2023

Occupied Western Sahara

Mohamed Laayichi, a Sahrawi student activist and former political prisoner, was arrested on Sunday, September 4, 2023, in the bus station of El Aaiun while attempting to travel to Agadir. He was taken to the police headquarters, where he was interrogated about his political views and his relationship with other Sahrawi activists. For more than five hours, he was threatened with death if he did not stop his activities. He was eventually released, but banned from entering the bus station.

Laayichi’s arrest comes at a time when the UN Special Envoy to Western Sahara, Stéphane de Mistura, is visiting El Aaiun. The arrest is seen by many as an attempt by the Moroccan authorities to intimidate Sahrawi activists and silence their voices.

Laayichi is a well-known figure in the Sahrawi community. He was arrested in 2019 and sentenced to two years in prison for his political activities. He was released in 2021.

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