In his annual report to the UN Security Council, the UN Secretary General made a short mention of the three Sahrawi activists’ arrest.
Rabat – Sahrawis continue to call on the international community to intervene in the case of the three detained opposition activists.
A group of women protested the continued detention of the three activists on Sunday, October 20, near the Tindouf camps, where thousands of Sahrawis live.
“We are here today to call for the release of our sons, who have been aggressively and unjustly arrested,” one of the women said in a video. Former Polisario police officer Mustafa Salma Ould Sidi Mouloud shared the footage on his Facebook page.
The Polisario Front arrested Moulay Aba Bouzid, Fadel Braka, and Mahmoud Zidane in June. Despite no formal charges and no trial, the three activists have been behind bars since June.
In the video, one of the protesters said that the activists have been on a hunger strike for five days to condemn their unjust arrest. The separatist group arrested the activists for denouncing the living situation of Sahrawis in the Tindouf camps, criticizing freedom of movement restrictions.
“The mothers of [opposition] prisoners Fadel, Bouzid, and Zidane called on Western countries to intervene for the release of their sons,” Mustafa Salma wrote.
For the former Polisario member, while the rest of the world seems to be stirred by calls for change, the youth movements and drives for change have not reached the “ the Tindouf camps which are ruled by the Polisario Front with a security system that suppresses freedom.”
Mustafa Salma said that the lack of “young leaders and drive of protest movements for change” in the camps is a “deliberate” move from the Polisario.
He emphasized that there is only one secondary school in which a “few children from the camps are studying” in Tindouf.
Most high school and university students are “studying in Algeria and they cannot come back to Tindouf camps during summer,” Mustafa Salma wrote.
Sahrawis, women and men, have been protesting the arrest of the activists for more than six months since the arrest. The Polisario Front has not responded to the calls for the release of the three activists.
The international community also remains silent on the illegal arrest, despite the many cries for help from the relatives of the detainees.
The UN report on the situation on Western Sahara from the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, briefly discussed the arrest of the activists.
Paragraph 71 of the report indicates that the UN bodies were informed by the OHCHR on “ the harassment, arrest, arbitrary detention and ill-treatment by Frente POLISARIO security forces of a human rights defender and a blogger engaged in documenting human rights violations in the region.”
The report also recalled that the activists “denounced the management of the Tindouf refugee camps on social media. They were reportedly arrested in June 2019 by Frente POLISARIO security forces following a sit-in at the Rabouni camp to protest the disappearance in 2009 of Khalil Ahmed.”
Khalil Ahmed is a Polisario members who forcibly disappeared nearly 10 years ago.
Algerian intelligence services along with Polisario members kidnapped El Khalil in 2009, two months after the Polisario had appointed him to monitor human rights in the Tindouf camps.
The family of Khalil has been protesting his disappearance for months without any clear explanation from the separatist group.