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Mohamed Embarek Lefkir


Mohamed Embarek Lefkir is a human rights defender who was born in 1978. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison by the Appeals Court in Salé in 2017. Mohamed Embareh Lefkir was part of a delegation of Sahrawi human rights defenders who had been invited to Algiers by the Polisario Front to discuss the human rights situation of the Sahrawis in Western Sahara. It is believed that this trip is the reason for his arrest and imprisonment. Mohamed Embareh Lefkir claimed at the Appeals Court that he was kidnapped on 12 November 2010, by a group of civilian police officers using masks to cover their faces, at his uncle´s house, and was then beaten in front of his family. He was taken to the “Black prison” in Laayoune, where he was kept until 17 June 2011. He was temporarily released but detained again once outside the prison walls. He claims to have signed the declarations and confessions as a result of being tortured. Mohamed Embareh Lefkir was present at the camp on 8 November 2010 and declared that, in the early hours of the attack, he passed out due to the tear gas that was used, that he was carried by his family for 4 kilometres, and that he later walked the remaining 8 kilometres to his home in Laayoune.

The issue of the status of Western Sahara remains unresolved, despite ongoing negotiations between the Moroccan authorities and the Polisario Front. The UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), established in 1991, has been extended but continues to have no human rights monitoring component. The dispute over self determination created deep political and security related tensions throughout the Sahara area and affects all aspects of life, including the work of human rights defenders.

Sahrawi human rights defenders continued to be subjected to intimidation, harassment, questioning, arrest, incommunicado detention, and unfair trials.

The right to freedom of assembly remains severely restricted. Permission to hold public gatherings is often denied and demonstrations dispersed by force. Participants, including human rights defenders, have been beaten, arrested or otherwise intimidated.