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Sid’ Ahmed Lemjeyid

HRD, President
CSPRON, the Committee for the Protection of Natural Resources in Western Sahara

Sid’ Ahmed Lemjeyid is a human rights defender who was born in 1959. He was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Appeals Court in Salé in 2017. Sid’ Ahmed Lemjeyid is the president of CSPRON, the Committee for the Protection of Natural Resources in Western Sahara. The human rights defender was arrested in 1999 for attending a protest in Laayoune, and again in 2005. More recently, Sid’Ahmed Lemjeyid was arrested on 26 December 2010 and taken to an unknown location where he was beaten while being interrogation exclusively on political issues. These interrogations did not even mention the Gdeim Izik camp. Sid’Ahmed Lemjeyid claims that he was tortured and arrested for being a Sahrawi activist. He claims to have signed the confessions under torture and declared to the Court of Appeal that he had nothing to do with the camp, and that he had only visited the Gdeim Izik as a human rights activist, where he had interviewed people about their demands and their sufferance. He was not present in the camp on 8 November 2010.

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.