Posted 2009/9/2

Western Sahara: Severe beating of human rights defender, Mr Mohammed al-Tahleel by security forces

Human rights defender Mr Mohammed al-Tahleel was briefly abducted and severely beaten by Moroccan security forces in Al-Laayoun city, Western Sahara on 21 August 2009. Mohammed al-Tahleel, is the head of the Bu-Jdur branch of the Sahrawi Association of Victims of Grave Human Rights Violations (ASVDH).

Further Information

It is thought that Mohammed al-Tahleel was targeted because of his participation in the welcoming of the prominent Sahrawi human rights defender, Mr Sultana Khayya, who returned to Western Sahara on 18 August 2009.

On 21 August 2009, at 8 pm, Mohammed al-Tahleel was in an internet café in the Fath district of Al-Laayoun city, Western Sahara, when a group of 6 plain-clothes security men entered and took him away in a car. Mohammed al-Tahleel was handcuffed, blindfolded and severely beaten all over his body and hit with a stick on his feet until he lost consciousness.

Municipality cleaning workers found him at 12 midnight at a cemetery far from the city. Mohammed al-Tahleel, who is suffering from severe pain and bruises on his head and body, identified one of the security men as Abdulhadi Al-Alawi. On 24 August 2009, Mohammed al-Tahleel submitted a complaint on the incident to the King's Representative at Laayoun Court of Appeals.

Front Line is deeply concerned that the brief abduction severe beating and abandonment of Mohammed al-Tahleel in an isolated place forms part of a new pattern of repression of human rights defenders in Western Sahara. Front Line believes that the abduction and assault of Mohammed al-Tahleel is due to his peaceful activities in defense of human rights, particularly the right to self-determination.

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