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Hayat Rguibi

Born on 2 October 1990 in Smara. I have 2 sisters and 5 brothers. They all took part in the Intifada. I studied at this college but in 2007 I was expelled from it and the following year I was forbidden to pursue my studies. This year I took them up again with some difficulty as I had to change establishment and I am now in 4th year at the Laayoune 3 College.

NGuia El Haouassi
Born on 27 August 1990 in Laayoune. I have 5 brothers and 5 sisters, they were not all in the Intifada. I am in the 4th year class at the College Allal Ben Abdallah.

They live in Laayoune, in Western Sahara administered by the Kingdom of Morocco and attended the same college in 2005. They have become firm friends since the start of the Intifada in May 2005. Both have heard all their lives members of their families complain about colonization, whether about relatives who have been victims of forced disappearance1, or the arrest of close relatives imprisoned for their ideas. In September 1999 they were small but they took part in the big sit-in which lasted 12 days with a thousand people who took turns living in tents pitched on a square and which finished under attack from the police in the middle of the night. They also experienced the enthusiasm of the crowd, which welcomed back Mohamed Daddach2 when he was released in November 2001. Hayat : Then, when the opportunity presented itself in 2005, we were just waiting for that to shout out our desire for freedom. In 2005 I took part in a sit-in, which was on the avenue that we called Avenue Sidi Md Daddach. There was an enormous crowd, thousands of Saharawis were taking part of all ages, women and men. It lasted from morning to night. In the evening there was repression by the police who dispersed the demonstrators. We were chanting slogans against the colonial occupation, we had a big feeling of rejecting the Moroccan authorities, thats why we insisted on the departure of the colonisers and our wish for
1

In June 1991 King Hassan II released 321 people from secret prisons. It has been possible to account for 31 dead. But still today there remain 500 people whose fate has not been clarified. 2 Former death row prisoner for 24 years, Daddach was finally released following hunger strikes and international pressure.

independence. The Intifada gave us this courage to express the fact that we didnt want anything other than independence. All my personal projects stopped waiting for the liberation of my country. NGuia : I participated like Hayat in this great sit-in. Then there was a demonstration to protest against the transfer of Saharawi political prisoners to prisons in Morocco. At college also we had sit-ins on Saturday after classes. There were repercussions because the Moroccan teachers became racist towards the Saharawi students taking part in them. Several Saharawi pupils gave up their studies because of this. It is different in the Lyce Lemsala where there is a majority of Saharawi pupils and teachers. But the management decided to change that by integrating Moroccan students and by transferring Saharawi students into other lyces. In December 2008 one of my friends was arrested. He was 15 years old. He had leaflets on him, they took him to his house and searched the house. They found a computer that he was using to make the leaflets. The next day they arrested another who was not a college student. He was savagely tortured and gave the names of all the members of the group, including mine. On Tuesday 31 December, the police released them both and they came to inform me that I would certainly be arrested. On 5 January 2009, the day we went back to school, I saw that the police were present in larger numbers than usual around the college. I was careful and hid under my melafa to get in, but then I couldnt leave the college. Then my friends helped me escape through a window in the gym. This time I got away with it, but I couldnt continue to do the same every day. Then I decided to miss classes for 3 days by taking a medical certificate. The events in Gaza distracted the police on to another subject I brought the certificate to the chief supervisor who told me that he knew that I was mixed up in everything that went on in the college; that confirmed to me that management had given my timetable to the police. But there is another more painful experience she wants to talk about. In November 2008 some Italian parliamentarians came on a study mission. She met them but after their departure she was abducted by the police. I had left the lyce at 6pm. A police car was following me, but as here were people around me, friends, they did not dare arrest me. When I arrived in my area, Linaach, 3 policemen made me get into their green van, one of them caught me by the arm, his nickname is Moustache. Then they insulted me with coarse words that I cant repeat. They threatened me if I didnt stop created problems. They called their chief, Aziz ANNOUCHE through the radio to announce to him that they had arrested NGuia. He told them to bring her to the same place. When we arrived at the river, Moustache said to me: You want to have the same fate as the 15 disappeared3? If you dont stop creating problems you will have pins holding your legs up. Aziz arrived at this place and immediately began hitting me with his hands while insulting me. Then he gave the order to others to continue to beat me, which they did, punching with their fists and kicking with their feet. After another officer who seemed a higher rank in the police came and they presented me to him saying: Heres the one who always creates problems for us. He asked me to tell him everything about the meeting with the Italian parliamentarians : who was with them, who translated, who called me to come, with whom I came and who brought be back. They also asked me if the families of the 15 young disappeared were also present at the meeting. They asked me if I had any relations with Daddach, Ghalia, Dafa and they insisted on the names of people of the population who were present and who are not known. When I replied that I didnt know, the highly ranked officer gave the order to beat me up. At one moment they put a blindfold on my eyes and made me get up on a rock and threatened to make me fall into the river. They also asked me if I was preparing something for the arrival of the European Commission : when are you going to organize a demonstration? In whose houses will you hide? Who is organizing that?

This refers to 15 young people who were preparing to go to the Canary Islands and who were abducted on 25.12.2005. They were carrying with them documents, photos, video, flags of the Intifada in May 2005. The police claim that they drowned, which the families deny as w have been contacted by their children and one witness told them that only one youth died.

Aziz ANNOUCHE ordered the policemen to make me get into the car. They took off the blindfold. They showed me a leaflet which carried a signature : Youth of the Revolution and two photos : that of Che Guevara and that of El Ouali Mustapha Sayed. They said it was me who had distributed this leaflet in the Mataala quarter and that they had seen me. I defended myself saying: If you have seen me, you could have arrested me in flagrante delicto. Besides I have no computer or printer, so how could I have done it? He said to me it is either you or Hayat or Izana Amaidan who has distributed this leaflet. They said to me Look, the Italians have gone and you are still here, what use were the Italians to you? Tell us what you told them. I said that I am not allowed to study normally, nor to walk like any other person, that they are always following me. Is it you or us who doesnt leave the other alone? You dont leave us alone, you are holding demos everywhere such as the one for Hamdi Lembarki4. And they accused me of several other sit-ins that I had not organized. At that moment my family came to the police station but nobody gave them proper information. My father knew a policeman; he asked him if I was in this place. He looked everywhere and came back saying that I wasnt there. Several members of the family and friends then gathered in front of the police station. I think it was at that moment that the officers who were holding me received a radio appeal. They got back into their car and left me in this deserted place. It was between 9 and 10pm. I walked for a while and a person driving a Land Rover stopped to ask me what I was doing there. He saw the marks of the blows I had received, I told him everything and he took me near to the Hassan II hospital where he gave me 10 dirhams to take a taxi and get home because he didnt dare accompany me. I called my parents from a telephone box so they could come and get me. The whole night a police car was circulating around the house, the police feared that a solidarity demonstration would happen. The next day I went to give testimony to the human rights defenders. The police sent a young pupil to tell me that they would not forget that testimony. Yesterday when I left college, Aziz ANNOUCHE, who was driving a Mercedes 190 registered abroad, stopped and came over to me. You gave this testimony? I replied that I only knew that some people came to my house and that it is their role as police agents to know who it was. Now the management of the college accuse me of everything that happens in their establishment and I am thinking of changing college because of the pressure they are putting on me. Hayat : I was arrested with another young person, Sid Ahmed NDour who is 18 years old, a pupil at the same college as me, on 17 February 2006, near the college Allal Ben Abdallah, it was 4pm. There were 11 policemen. They dragged me by the hair and made us get into the blue van. Their chief was Mustapha KAMOUR (today in charge of police in Tan Tan); They drove us to the river and once there they began to beat us up inside the van with batons and kicks. They beat us, insulted us to punish us for the sit-in at which we had taken part. After they threw me out of the car. I came home on foot. I met a car driven by a Saharawi and I asked him to drive me home to the Mataalla district. I had bruises on my face and body, legs, buttocks and a very bad headache. Sid Ahmed NDour was sentenced to 6 months in prison for inciting violent gatherings. Since I have been arrested 4 times, including once with NGuia and another girl, the same age as us. It was in May 2006 during a sit-in on Avenue Maghreb Arabe. They took us to the police station, they took off our melafas and blindfolded us. They took us to a room where they beat us, we were pulled by the hair. This went on for an hour and a half, then they began the interrogation. This concentrated on the organisers of the sit-in and the Saharawi human rights defenders who took part in it. We said we didnt know their names. Then they undressed me and threatened to take photos and publish them on the internet. Someone came behind me, he took me by the shoulders to make me think he was going to rape me. I tried to push him away saying: Imagine its your sister in this situation. He told me not to mention his sister and they began to beat me. They asked me about my identity and discovered that I have a brother who had been arrested in Smara and Laayoune, which made them really angry with me. At one moment they gave me the telephone to call my parents and tell them that we had not been maltreated. I did the opposite and I said that they were torturing us. After that they continued with the beating to punish me for not having followed their orders. They then gave back my clothes and put us in
4

A youth assassinated after a peaceful demonstration in October 2005.

a room until 3 in the morning, when we were released. Another time in June 2008 they came at 10am to my home to take me to the police headquarters where they tied my feet then my hands behind my back. They tied them together with a pair of handcuffs attached to an iron bar; they put a blindfold over my eyes. They began the interrogation concerning a demonstration which had taken place the day before in the Mataala quarter. I lied and said that I wasnt there. They were high ranking officers in the police. They thought I had joined an organization Youth of the Revolution of Che Guevara-El Ouali Mustapha Sayed. They had leaflets from this organization. When they began to question me at first I played the idiot. They asked : Have you ideas on the question of independence? and said that we are ignorant, that there is no relationship between Che and El Ouali. With patience they provoked me and I began to respond more seriously. I said that there was a historical relationship between the two struggles: Saharawi independence and Ches revolution. I referred to early incidents in the independence struggle. I spoke of the Moroccan invasion and war crimes, of bodies buried secretly. He was surprised by this change in the situation and about my political baggage, my knowledge of the whole history of the Saharawi people since the creation of the Polisario Front. After this interrogation I was under the escort of 3 policemen whenever I moved around the police station to another room or to go to the toilet. I had my eyes blindfolded from 10 am until midnight. Around 5pm I heard moaning from activists who had been arrested and were being tortured, I resisted in this position (on my knees with my feet and hands behind me, attached to the iron bar) until 11pm then I fainted. The police put perfume under my nose, they were no doubt frightened about what could happen. My family had telephoned the police, they told them that I would stay there until NGuia was arrested. After they received a phone call from Rabat and released me.

Laayoune 10 January 2009 Interview recorded by Michle Decaster Secretary General of AFASPA

Association Franaise dAmiti et de Solidarit avec les Peuples dAfrique 13 rue Pierre et Marie Curie 93170 Bagnolet AFASPA@wanadoo.fr Site internet : www.afasap.com