08/10/14, Police briefly detained Salha Boutanguiza, a member of Adala UK, along with three Saharawis – two former political prisoners recently released from Dakhla jail, Kamal Trayah and Abdlaziz Brai, and Zahra, a blogger.
The activists were on their way to the occupied capital of El Aiun when they were stopped and made to leave their car by the Moroccan police, at a control point at the Western entrance to the city.
“They made us get out of the car and frisked us”, recalls Salha. “After a long time they made us get back in the car and go back to the city of Dakhla, 600km away. Moroccan police cars were following us. My house and my family are in El Aiun.”
“They wouldn’t let us past. The city’s military and police blockade is especially strong at the moment because it’s the anniversary of the first tent being erected at the Gdaim Izik protest camp in 2010” explains Kamal Trayah.
Local NGOs asked the group to tell their story. Moroccan police agents ignored the activists’ protests that they had been invited to El Aiun, making them turn back to where they had come from.
Salha Boutanguiza, who lives in El Aiun, had been in Dakhla raising awareness of recent protests and of the death of Hasana El Wali, a political prisoner.
Unfortunately, this detention is not an isolated incident. Rather, it reflects the constant difficulties confronted by those whose opinions challenge those of the occupying Moroccan authorities in the Western Sahara.
Adala UK fears that the Moroccan authorities are restricting activists’ freedom of speech and assembly. We note with concern that they will not allow meetings of Saharawis who reject the Moroccan occupation, or who believe the Saharawi people have a right to selfdetermination (recognised by the UN in resolution 1514), and that they adopt strict and repressive measures against those who do hold meetings, accusing them of treason.