Saharawi political prisoner Mahfouda Elfakir released this morning

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PUSL.- Saharawi activist and political prisoner, Mahfouda Elfakir, was released today after completing a 6 months sentence. Her health status is very frail.

The families house has been under surveillance so that no one can approach it and greet Mrs. Mahfouda.

Although she was sentenced to 6 months in prison on December 12th, 2019, she was arrested on the 28th of October 2019, spending so 17 days more in prison than the sentence of 6 months.

On 12th of December 2019, at the appeal trial of Saharawi activist Mahfouda Elfakir the judge has ratified the sentence of 6 months in prison and the payment of a 2,000 dirhams fine, issued on November 27th. The trial was held in the court of El Aaiun, the capital of occupied Western Sahara
The hearing was held without the assistance of observers, allowing only Mahfouda’s father to enter. Mrs. Isabel Lourenço, researcher of the Centre of African Studies of the University of Porto and member of Fundación Sahara Occidental was prevented to attend the trial, detained at the Airport and sent to Morocco.

It should be noted that the defense lawyer of Mahfouda received the documentation of the trial on the 27th and the information and documents of the trial only at the end of the afternoon of the previous day of the trial, so that the activist’s defense has been reduced due to the limited time available to prepare the file.

The young mother, member of the association “Coordination of Gdeim Izik” and the Moroccan Association of Human Rights, was arrested inside the courtroom of the court of El Aaiún under the pretext of “assaulting an official” when she asked about her cousin’s case, 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.

Refusing to board a common prison transport van with only male prisoners, she was brutally beaten in front of everyone at the trial.

Mahfouda was presented on Saturday, November 16 before the king’s attorney. In the absence of her lawyer, the prosecutor sent her to the black prison of El Aaiun. The family was not allowed to give her the medications she had to take daily, knowing that Mahfouda has a cyst in her head and has been waiting for surgery for several months.

After her arrest, the health state of Mahfouda worsened and the penitentiaries responsible had to call an ambulance and gave her an injection to calm her down, without knowing about her previous health conditions.

Mahfouda is a well-known activist and has long been targeted by the Moroccan police. The Saharawi activist has been the victim of several attacks by the Moroccan authorities during peaceful demonstrations in which she regularly participates to demand the release of political prisoners and the independence of Western Sahara.