Morocco: Saharawi journalist imprisoned for speaking out


The article below is abridged from a November 4 statement released by the Saharawi Journalists' and Writers' Union (UPES). For more information, visit

A colonial court in the southern Moroccan city of Gulemim has sentenced the Saharawi journalist and writer Mustapha Abd-Daiem on November 4 to three years imprisonment and a 5000 Moroccan dirham fine for expressing his political opinions.

Abd-Daiem is a human rights activist and member of UPES who has unveiled and condemned Morocco's human rights violations in the occupied territory of Western Sahara — as well as against Saharawi students in Moroccan universities.

Abd-Daiem was kidnapped on October 27 in the city of Assa, after he supported Saharawi demonstrators who were victims of Moroccan police violence.

The Saharawi journalist entered the Moroccan court with his hands raised in a symbol of victory and chanting slogans in favour of independence for Western Sahara.

He declared that Moroccan police had falsified all his statements during their interrogation and asked the judge not to consider any of the false information presented by police.

The Moroccan judge, however, took no notice of the victim's declaration and quickly sentenced him to three years imprisonment. Abd-Daiem's lawyers expressed surprise and argued that the trial lacked the most fundamental conditions of fair judgment.

It should be noted that Abd-Daiem's sister was arrested on the same day in the occupied Western Saharan city of Dakhla.

UPES has condemned this new violation of Saharawi people's most fundamental rights, and called on all international human rights organisations and trade unions to support Abd-Daiem in his plight.

UPES has stated that it will start an international campaign in support of Abd-Daiem, demanding his immediate and unconditional release.