Back to top

Arbitrary detention of woman human rights defender Mahfouda Bamba Lefkire

Status: 
Sentenced
About the situation

On 27 November 2019, the Court of First Instance of El Ayoun sentenced woman human rights defender Mahfouda Bamba Lefkire to six months imprisonment for “obstruction of justice” and “insulting a public servant”.

The hearing session for woman human rights defender Mahfouda Bamba Lefkire took place on 19 November 2019 at the Court of First Instance in El Ayoun. The Court has rescheduled announcement of the verdict to 27 November 2019.

On 15 November 2019, woman human rights defender Mahfouda Bamba Lefkire was arbitrarily detained by the Moroccan forces in the city of El Ayoun. The reason behind her arrest and the charges she is facing are still unknown, and all family and lawyer visits continue to be banned.

About Mahfouda Bamba Lefkire

MahfoudaMahfouda Bamba Lefkire is a prominent woman human rights defender in Western Sahara. She is a member of Gdeim Izik Peaceful Movement, and is active in the El Ayoun human rights community. As part of her human rights activities, she participates in peaceful demonstrations which call for the right to self-determination. In addition, she advocates for the freedom of Sahrawi political prisoners and organises workshops in support of their families.

29 November 2019
Mahfouda Bamba Lefkire sentenced

On 27 November 2019, the Court of First Instance of El Ayoun sentenced woman human rights defender Mahfouda Bamba Lefkire to six months imprisonment for “obstruction of justice” and “insulting a public servant”. The trial took place under high security, with family members and friends not permitted to attend the trial, with the exception of her father.

21 November 2019
Mahfouda Bamba Lefkire’s hearing takes place, awaiting verdict

The hearing session for woman human rights defender Mahfouda Bamba Lefkire took place on 19 November 2019 at the Court of First Instance in El Ayoun. The Court has rescheduled announcement of the verdict to 27 November 2019. The request to grant Mahfouda Bamba Lefkire a conditional release, in consideration for her poor health and her two children, was refused by the court. The woman human rights defender is facing charges of “obstruction of justice” and “insulting a public servant”. She is being held in poor conditions at El Ayoun prison and is suffering from a head injury resulting from the physical abuse she received during her arrest. No medical assistance has been provided.

19 November 2019
Arbitrary detention of woman human rights defender Mahfouda Bamba Lefkire

On 15 November 2019, woman human rights defender Mahfouda Bamba Lefkire was arbitrarily detained by the Moroccan forces in the city of El Ayoun. The reason behind her arrest and the charges she is facing are still unknown, and all family and lawyer visits continue to be banned.

Download the Urgent Appeal

Mahfouda Bamba Lefkire is a prominent woman human rights defender in Western Sahara. She is a member of Gdeim Izik Peaceful Movement, and is active in the El Ayoun human rights community. As part of her human rights activities, she participates in peaceful demonstrations which call for the right to self-determination. In addition, she advocates for the freedom of Sahrawi political prisoners and organises workshops in support of their families.

On 15 November 2019, from 10:00am, Mahfouda Bamba Lefkire attended her cousin’s hearing at El Ayoun Court. During the hearing session the judge ordered all the attendees to leave, except for Mahfouda Bamba Lefkire. She was then interrogated at the Court until 8:00pm, and was transferred to a local police station, where her interrogation continued. During her transfer to the police station, Mahfouda Bamba Lefkire was ill-treated and physically abused by the police officers.

On 16 November 2019, after spending around thirty hours in interrogation, Mahfouda Bamba Lefkire was transferred to El Ayoun prison. Her lawyer was not allowed to attend the interrogation, nor was she allowed to make any contact with him. Since her detention Mahfouda Bamba Lefkire has not been permitted to contact any family member including her two children.

Mahfouda Bamba Lefkire, has been frequently harassed by the Moroccan authorities as a result of of her human rights activities. She has been physically and verbally abused several times by authorities during demonstrations and in December 2015, they cut her monthly welfare payments for two months.

Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned about the continual harassments of Mahfouda Bamba Lefkire and the other Sahrawi human rights defenders. Front Line Defenders believes that Mahfouda Bamba Lefkire is being targeted solely as a result of her peaceful and legitimate human rights activities.