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Western Sahara: Police beating of human rights defender Ms Aminatou Haidar
On 1 November 2012, human rights defender Ms Aminatou Haidar was physically and verbally attacked and threatened with a knife by Moroccan police in El Ayoun in a four hour long assault that left her car damaged.
Aminatou Haidar is a renowned human rights defender and the Chairperson of the Collectif des Défenseurs Sahraouis des Droits de l'Homme – CODESA (Collective of Sahrawi Human Rights Defenders). Her human rights work focuses on advocating for the rights of the Sahrawi people.
At the time of the assault, the human rights defender was on her way home after a meeting with the Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General on Western Sahara, Christopher Ross. She was accompanied by her sister and daughter, who were trapped inside the car whilst police officers reportedly threw rocks at the windows. Aminatou Haidar was threatened with a knife, shoved to the ground and beaten.
It is also reported that access to Aminatou Haidar's house was blocked between 5.30 pm and 1 am on the day of the attack. She is currently suffering from physical pain due to the attack, especially pain in her back, ribs and stomach.