- For defenders
- How can I help?
I got news that police were breaking up and beating demonstrators. News came that a woman human rights defender had been badly injured and was asked would I like to see her. I went to the hospital with Eric Sottas, where I took this photo, as she lay waiting to be treated. Her name is Soukainajed Ahlou and she is President of the Forum for Sahrawi women. She was quite badly injured- bloodied and bruised. There seem to be some internal injuries according to a scan taken - I am waiting for exact details.
In an extraordinary coincidence, the car carrying Kerry Kennedy passed the demonstration en route to another meeting. Kerry's 17 year old daughter Moriah quickly took photos including the one of the policeman beating Soukainajed Ahlou. In an attempt to stop her, the policeman reached into the car to grab the camera and in doing do hit her on the face.
Today in the media the Morrocans denied the police beat Soukainajed Ahlou but this time we are witnesses with photographic evidence.
There is nothing unusual about this beating. We have spent 2 days listening to the stories of daily humiliation and fear the Sahrawis live under.
A Front Line contact in Western Sahara sends this report on the latest developments in the trial of imprisoned Saharawi human rights defenders Ali Salem Tamek, Brahim Dahane and Ahmad Nasiri, who have announced a new hunger strike in protest at their ongoing imprisonment and the deferral of their trial to an unspecified date.
"The Saharawi Human Rights Defenders and prisoners of conscience - Ali Salem Tamek, Brahim Dahane and Ahmad Nasiri - have started an open hunger strike on Tuesday 22 Feb 2011, in Casablanca prison. They demand their right to a fair trial or their unconditional release.
This is their 6th hunger strike since their arrest and the third one in Casablanca prison after they were transferred from Salé prison. Their trial has been continuously postponed.
The three Saharawi political prisoners are still under arrest without any verdict. Ever since their first hunger strike – which lasted 41 days – they’ve been demanding their right for a fair trial or to be unconditionally released.