Death of Sahrawi youth at the hands of Moroccan settlers

Mohamed Liman HaidalaAdala UK has had contact with the family of Mohamed Lamin Haidala, the recently deceased 21-year old Sahrawi. Mohamed Lamin was studying to be a plumber in the occupied city of El Aaiun; he was the son of Abdallahi Haidala and Takbar Hadi and lived with his maternal grandparents in the Stone House neighbourhood.

His grandmother and aunt informed us that on Saturday 31st January, at around 9.30pm, the owners of a furniture store opposite Mohamed Lamin Haidala’s grandparents’ house began hurling racist abuse at him for being Sahrawi.
The shop owner, his two nephews and two employees (all of whom are Moroccan settlers) attacked Mohamed Lamin, and one of them threw a stone at his chest, the impact of which knocked him to the ground. The group of settlers then immediately jumped on him and began to beat him, while one of them stabbed him in the shoulder and neck with a pair of scissors, at which point Mohamed lost consciousness.
According to the testimony of his aunt “three police cars of the occupying forces arrived and took him to hospital. He was in a really bad way and he couldn’t move. They took him to the Ben Mehdi hospital but the settlers remained free! When he arrived at casualty, accompanied by the police, he was badly injured. They stitched him up but without anaesthetic or disinfectant and he was screaming in pain. He was then taken to the central station of the occupying police force. They took him to the hospital and back to the station several times without notifying the family”. His grandmother added: “his neck was covered in wounds and he had a burst vein and broken ribs. They just stitched him up on the outside and didn’t do anything about his internal injuries”.

Mohamed Lamin was held in a cell at the central station. He was in pain and had neither a mattress nor a blanket. He remained there until 2 February at 8am when he was taken to hospital. There he was injected with pain medication and then taken to court. His grandmother recalls that Mohamed Lamin was in such a bad way that he couldn’t stand up and that the Moroccan police continued to maltreat him.

The prosecutor requested a medical certificate and his uncle told us that he requested the certificate from Dr Hachimi Noufel, who refused to give one. The same doctor, he told us, had given medical certificates to the Moroccan settlers who had attacked Mohamed Lamin, even though they were unharmed.
Throughout all of this, Mohamed Lamin remained in the courtroom without medical attention, suffering pain from his injuries and not being able to eat or drink. When his uncle returned without the medical certificate, Mohamed Lamin was released on a temporary basis. When Mohamed Lamin arrived home, he was unable to sleep due to the pain from his injuries and his family took him to the hospital. There, Dr Noufel gave him oxygen and an injection to ease the pain. The following day, 3 February, at midday following the results of a scan, he was transferred to Hassan II hospital, where he was admitted. At 9pm that night he lost consciousness.

His uncle told us that when he rang to speak to those in charge at the hospital he was told that his nephew’s condition was not critical, that he would recover and that they were not needed at the hospital. However, according to his uncle, the same doctor saw his nephew the next day and believed him to be in serious condition that demanded his immediate transfer to Agadir because they did not have enough oxygen at Hassan II Hospital.

Mohamed Lamin was sent back to Ben Mehdi hospital where he remained in casualty with tubes connected to his kidneys. Seeing that the young man was in a serious condition, the doctors asked his family members to hire an ambulance to take him to Agadir, adding that they could do nothing for him. The hospital insisted that the costs of his stay in hospital be paid before he could leave.
The family paid everything demanded of them and Mohamed Lamin was released into their care but the ambulance took over an hour to arrive. Mohamed Lamin spent the 666km of the journey in agony. His grandmother told us that when he arrived at Agadir, he was sent from one clinic to another as they refused to admit him. Finally he was admitted to a hospital but they could not do anything for him and told the family they would have to take Mohamed Lamin to Marrakech. He died in Agadir from his injuries and from medical negligence.

Members of Adala UK, along with members of other Sahrawi human rights organisations, have visited the family to offer support. Adala UK has been informed that the family home, situated on Alsharif Aldrisi Street, near Eskekima Avenue has been blocked off by the Moroccan authorities and Moroccan police are patrolling the surrounding streets, following any Sahrawis who attempt to come near the house.

Mohamed Liman’s grandmother states: “I don’t forgive the Moroccan state, the Prosecutor, the doctors or the stellers who attacked him. I don’t forgive those who were responsible for his death. I ask God to bring him justice! I want the Moroccans to leave our land and stop causing suffering to the Sahrawi people. My grandson never harmed anyone. The cause of his death is the occupation. I insist that the Moroccan state launches an investigation and that those responsible answer for their actions, and that the guilty ones are tried for their actions. I ask the international community to intervene so that the violation of human rights and the death of my grandson are not in vain”.

Adala UK calls on the international community to listen to the requests made by Mohamed Lamin Haidala’s grandmother and bring pressure on the Moroccan King to begin an investigation and bring to trial all those responsible.

It is imperative that the UN Resolutions on Western Sahara are realised and that a Referendum is called following 40 years of illegal occupation: to finally bring decolonisation for Western Sahara.

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