The Sahrawi youngster El Ouali Amidane was sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison for having participated in a demonstration last October.
Published 19 April 2007
Earlier the same morning his sister, Elkouria, plead for Norwegian assistance. Her brother was then awaiting his sentence in El Aaiun. His sentence is the harshest so far this year.
In a parodical trial, El Ouali and two other political prisoners were given severe sentences. El Ouali Amidane and Bachri Ben Taleb were both sentenced to five years in prison, while Yahdih Etarouzi was sentenced to one and a half year.
The court deferred the appeals of Bhaha Mohamed Salem, Mohamed Mouloud Elhajaj, Daida Abdessalam, Elyazid Ben Ammar, Sheik Ben Allal and Zougham Ghali until 15 May 2007. The six youngsters had appealed against sentences from 20 March this year.
According to Sahrawis present at the trial, the courthouse was surrounded by a large number of Moroccan securtiy personnel. Many Sahrawis who appeared in order to witness the trial were harassed and denied access to the courthouse.
Others did not even make it to El Aaiun. On approaching the city, Mohamed Tahlil, president of a local human rights organisation, was stopped by the police, threatened with torture, and brought to the police station, where he remained until 8 pm. He was then blindfolded, and driven to an unknown location, where the threats of torture materialised. Once there, Tahlil was forcefully undressed and submitted to severe beating directed towards all parts of his body. Having paused to flush his body with cold water, the torturers recommenced the beating.
Around 11 pm, Tahlil was left in a critical condition at the eastern outskirts of El Aaiun. He is still suffering severe pain, and is currently having trouble walking.