Saharawi activist arrested and assaulted during trial of her minor cousin

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PUSL.- Saharawi activist Mahfouda Elfakir was arrested on Friday morning the 15th of November in the court of El Aaiun, occupied Western Sahara, where she was attending the trial of her 15-year-old cousin Mansour Elmoussaoui, who was sentenced to 1 month in prison. Mansour was arrested on 28 October and accused of participating in the celebrations of the Algerian team victory in the Africa Cup.

The young mother, member of the association “Coordination of Gdeim Izik” and the Moroccan Human Rights Association was detained inside the trial room on the pretext of “assaulting an official” when she asked something about her cousin’s case.

By refusing to climb into a common prisoner transport van, with only male prisoners, she was brutally beaten in front of all those at trial.

Mahfouda was present yesterday at 10.00 am to the King’s attorney, without a lawyer present, who sent her to El Aaiun Black Prison. In the police station where she was detained before being present to the Prosecutor, the family was not allowed to deliver the medicines she has to take daily and only had the visit of a brother. Mahfouda has a cyst in her head and has been waiting for surgery for several months.

Yesterday, the girl’s father, Bomba Lefkir, received a call from a black prison official asking for the names of the medicines Mahfouda has to take. According to the prison official Mahfouda felt very bad and they had to call an ambulance. She had been given an injection but without consideration or knowledge of her health status. The prison official only called Mahfouda’s father after the girl was injected to find out if she was taking any medication and if she had any health problem.

Mahfouda is a well-known activist and has been in the sights of Moroccan police for a long time. The Saharawi activist has been the target of various assaults by the Moroccan authorities on peaceful demonstrations in which she regularly participates demanding the release of political prisoners and the independence of Western Sahara.

Mahfouda’s family is alarmed by the state of health of the girl who was violently assaulted, injected without any care and total ignorance of her medical condition by ambulance staff and unable to contact either family or lawyer until next Wednesday due to holidays in El Aaiun.