Occupied Western Sahara : a week of arrests and demonstrations

On February 19, 2018, a 18 year-old Sahrawi student Malainine Shine was abducted off the streets by three Moroccan plain-clothed policemen , about 200 meters from his home in “Red apartments “ in occupied city of El Aaiun . On 24 February He was charged with stone-throwing at police.

During 24 hours of custody he was interrogated and tortured in order to extract of confessions or other information, then he was taken before an investigating judge in the Court of First Instance in El Aaiun.

The Sine family is worried because the detention of their son, talented footballer, could destroy his hopes to evolve and play at a high level. 6 March is the date that had been set by the investigating judge for the trial.

On February 24, 40 former Sahrawi workers in the port of Boujdour staged a protest outside the port to denounce firing them of work and asked to be re-hired.

They worked as fish bearers from 2013 until 2017 but they were fired in August 2017 without any explanation.

They unload cargoes right from the ship to fish transporting trucks. According to them more than 3600 fish boxes are unloading every day. Their claims have not been heard. 6 protesters have been injured during a violent attack by Moroccan police.

The 16 registered ships in the port all belong to Moroccan settlers.

On February 25 In Zemla 50 young Saharawis took part in peaceful demonstartions marking the 42nd anniversary of founding SADR. The slogans and banners denounced the fisheries agreement between the EU and Morocco. The Moroccan police forcefully dispersed them. 7 protesters were arrested and 20 were injured.

After 72 hours in custody, the 7 activists were provisionally released, but accompanied by a measure that placed the complainant under judicial supervision until Mach 26 date when they will be appear before the judge .

The activists are : Abidin Bougzatni, 20 years old  ; Omar Lbhaih, 18 years old  ; Mohamed Guergar, 19 years old  ; Othman El Moussaoui, 18 years old  ; Mohamed Mraizig, 19 years old  ; Hassan Daoudi, 21 years old  ; Zerouali Hamma,  17 years old  .

During the appearance before the investigating judge, the Moroccan police blocked the streets leading to the court of appeal to prevent the detainees’ families from accessing the court.

Officers gathered in front of the courtyard gates and even prevented officials from reaching their offices. An official was assaulted by police officers.

In a public statement, the local Union for justice workers protested against “state of siege” imposed around the court of appeal but also against the assaults that one of the civil servants has been subject to by Moroccan police.

The union incriminates the Moroccan police officer so called “ El Alji” and has called for an impartial judicial investigation into the incident.

On 27 February in occupied city of Essmara , more than 100 Sahrawis have been demonstrated to commemorate the 42nd anniversary of the SADR .  They have loudly protested against the plundering of the Western Sahara natural resources by Morocco and his accomplices in the world. The occupying forces intervened and threw stones at the Saharawis who were resisting the attack. They also hindered the care of the wounded.

3 women were injured Three women were injured, including Soukeina Jed Ahlu, president of FAFESA (Forum for the Future of Saharawi Women).

During the demonstration, two journalists were caught by the Moroccan police while covering the demonstration. Mohamed Joumaai and Ahmed Essalami were released after one hour interrogation.

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