Photo: Hassana Abba

Middle East & North Africa

Morocco / Western Sahara | Aggression of Sahrawi defender Hassanna Abba

On May 8, 2021, Hassanna Abba, member of the executive board of the League for the Protection of Sahrawi Prisoners in Moroccan Prisons (LPPS) was physically attacked by Moroccan police officers. The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (FIDH-OMCT), ACAT-France and the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) strongly condemn this aggression and call on the Moroccan authorities to conduct an investigation and to immediately cease any act of harassment against Hassana Abba and all Sahrawi human rights defenders.

Hassanna Abba has been engaged for many years in a peaceful manner for the defense of the human rights of the Saharawi people.

On May 8, 2021, around 4:40 am, he was assaulted in the middle of the street in Laâyoune. While on his way to his brother’s house, a police car with four plainclothes policemen on board stopped near him. One of the policemen asked him where he was going and started cursing him and his family, before getting out of the car and physically attacking him. The other three policemen in turn got out of the vehicle and also beat Hassana Abba. The four policemen then got back into the car and quickly left the scene. During this assault, Hassanna Abba was wounded in the foot and in the hand and bears marks of beatings on the level of the face. He did not go to the hospital for examination for fear of being arrested by the police.

Hassanna Abba is a member of the executive board and treasurer of the LPPS, Deputy Secretary-General in charge of external relations at the Sahrawi Society for the Monitoring of Wealth and the Protection of the Environment, member of the Sahrawi Association of Victims of Serious Violations of human rights committed by the Moroccan State (ASVDH) and member of the executive board of the Sahrawi Coordination Center for the unemployed. As such, Hassanna Abba has been attacked, kidnapped, placed under surveillance and subjected to ill-treatment by the Moroccan authorities on several occasions since 2009.

The Observatory, ACAT-France and ISHR stress that this aggression falls within the context of the resumption of clashes between Morocco and the Polisario Front (Saharawi independence movement) since the breaking of the ceasefire of November 13 2020, which was accompanied by an intensification of the repression by the Moroccan authorities against Sahrawi human rights defenders.

The Observatory, ACAT-France and ISHR strongly condemn the violent aggression of Hassanna Abba as well as the constant harassment to which he has been the object for many years because of his peaceful commitment to the defense of human rights of the Saharawi people. The three organizations call on the Moroccan authorities to put an end to any act of harassment against them and that of all other Sahrawi human rights defenders and to conduct a prompt, impartial and transparent investigation. in order to identify those responsible for the assault on Hassana Abba, and to punish them in accordance with the law.

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