Morocco detains Saharawi journalist – World Press Freedom Day

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The Moroccan occupation authorities detained Laaroussi Ndour, photographer and publisher of the Bentilli Center, one of several Sahrawi media groups who daily report and film human rights violations in the occupied territories of Western Sahara committed by Morocco.

The arrest of journalist Ndour is part of the systematic policy of silencing the Saharawi media, whose journalists are persecuted and victims of ill-treatment, torture and detention.

Laaroussi Ndour, 26, was arrested on the evening of March 2, 2018 on Smara Avenue in El Aaiun, the capital of occupied Western Sahara. According to witnesses the journalist was arrested by a group of Moroccan police and transferred in a police car to the central police station. This young Saharawi journalist has been persecuted several times by the occupation authorities because of his political convictions.

Bentili, holds the Moroccan state responsible for the physical integrity of Laroussi Ndour, and strongly condemns this retaliation against the Saharawi journalist.

In a statement issued this morning Bentili demands the immediate release of journalist Laaroussi Ndour without any conditions or restrictions and appeals to the support of human rights organizations for Laaroussi Ndour and his family and reaffirms that desfpitethe repressive practices they will continue to denounce the violations committed by the Moroccan authorities in the occupied territories of Western Sahara.

The arrest of Laaroussi comes a few days after the public announcement of the Bentili Media Center as well as other Sahrawi media groups, of its explicit rejection of any type of work under the Moroccan law. The media thus reject the authorities of the Moroccan occupier who invaded Western Sahara in 1975 and who, under international law, have no legitimacy.

The NAN (New Activists Network) another media group in the occupied territories claims that the recent arrests of journalists in recent years are also related to the media coverage of the judgments of the Gdeim Izik Group in Rabat and the Students group in Marrakesh .

At the moment there are several Sahrawi journalists detained in Moroccan prisons, the media blockade imposed by the Alawite kingdom in the occupied territories has been denounced by international human rights organizations.

Saharawi journalists have reported that they are victims of threats, arbitrary detention, ill-treatment, torture and trials without any guarantees of respect for the law.

According to the NAN activists / journalists Al-Bashir Al-Dakhili, Hadi Mohammed and Ibrahim Amrekli are some of the journalists who were detained, mistreated and tortured, while Mohamed Salem Meyara and Mohamed El-Gomai are in police custody in an inhumane situation for two months now.

Saleh Lebsir, another Saharawi journalist, has been detained since 2015 with a 4-year sentence.