Leading figure of unemployed Saharawi graduates dies following torture

One of the leaders of the protest movement of unemployed Saharawis, who for months have been targeting their campaigns against Morocco's state owned phosphate company OCP, has died after allegedly being tortured by the Moroccan police.
Published: 18.04 - 2016 09:00Printer version    
Photo above: Brahim Saika was handcuffed to his hospital bed while in coma. The picture was taken by Saika's family members who were allowed to see him only once, from behind glass, during the week Saika spent in hospital.

brahihm_saika.jpgOn 1 April, Brahim Saika was arrested near his home in Guelmim, a town with a large Saharawi population in the south of Morocco. Saika had just met with trade unionists and unemployed Saharawis. The arresting police officers cited Saika's involvement with protests in the city as the reason for taking him into custody. Saika was taken to the local police station where he is said to have been tortured severely for hours on end.

After his ordeal, Saika started a hunger strike in protest of the treatment he had been subjected to. Five days later, his health had significantly deteriorated and he was taken to the hospital of his hometown Guelmim, from where he was taken to the hospital in Agadir.

Brahim Saika spent several days in coma before he died on Friday, 15 April, in the hospital of Agadir, supposedly due to the health complications arising from police torture and his subsequent hunger strike.

The authorities do not agree to the family's demand of an autopsy to determine the cause of death. The doctors purportedly told Saika's family that he died following a rat bite.

Brahim Saika was a former political prisoner, who spent four years in jail for his political views. Recently, he had emerged as one of the leaders of the group of unemployed Saharawi graduates, who protest against discriminatory employment practices and the systematic marginalisation of Saharawis by the Moroccan state.

Protests rooted in social and economic grievances have been a regular scene in both occupied Western Sahara and in towns in the south of Morocco which have a large Saharawi population.

Particularly in Western Sahara, the protests have intensified over the last 6 months, following an announcement by Morocco's state owned phosphate company OCP that it would hire 500 people in the area. However, it quickly became apparent that these vacancies were not accesible to Saharawis as the qualification criteria were too high. Saharawis today live as a marginalized minority in their own land and often cannot afford higher education that is only available in Morocco. During the 40 years occupation, Morocco has not established a single university in Western Sahara.

Without exception, the demonstrations of the Saharawi graduates are met with violence on the part of the Moroccan security forces.

Saika's death resulted in mass protests in Guelmim, which also prompted police intervention. See photos below.










21.01 - 2019 / 12.01 - 2019Coromandel: New buyer of conflict rock from occupied Western Sahara
16.01 - 2019 / 16.01 - 2019Parliament approves trade deal for occupied Western Sahara
16.01 - 2019 / 15.01 - 2019Rapporteur calls for referral to EU Court of Justice
15.01 - 2019 / 15.01 - 2019Western Sahara trade undermines UN peace efforts, says Rapporteur?
14.01 - 2019 / 14.01 - 2019These MEPs blocked a parliament debate on illegal Western Sahara trade
11.01 - 2019 / 17.12 - 2018WSRW asks French ENGIE about business ethics
11.01 - 2019 / 11.01 - 2019Saharawi groups, again, demand to be heard by EU
11.01 - 2019 / 11.01 - 2019Shipping company drops Western Sahara transports
10.01 - 2019 / 08.01 - 2019EU consumers, like Saharawis, ignored by EU lawmakers
07.01 - 2019 / 02.01 - 2019Misleading and false INTA report as basis for Parliamentary vote
17.12 - 2018 / 27.08 - 2010Support Western Sahara Resource Watch
17.12 - 2018 / 17.12 - 2018Protest in New Zealand against conflict mineral imports
11.12 - 2018 / 10.12 - 2018Trade Committee approves deal despite Saharawi condemnation
10.12 - 2018 / 10.12 - 2018EU Parliament's rapporteur on Western Sahara trade deal resigns
10.12 - 2018 / 10.12 - 2018EU Council refuses transparency on Western Sahara, and here's why
08.12 - 2018 / 22.11 - 2018Airbnb places occupied Western Sahara within Morocco
07.12 - 2018 / 04.12 - 2018SiemensGamesa massively prolongs plunder windmill contract
06.12 - 2018 / 30.11 - 2018European Council approves new fish deal, Sweden objects
05.12 - 2018 / 05.12 - 2018EU Court declares aviation deal invalid in Western Sahara
30.11 - 2018 / 29.11 - 2018New player wants to step in Western Sahara minefield


Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
EU Court cases on Western Sahara for dummies


It's not easy keeping up with all the different legal proceedings relating to Western Sahara. For the sake of clarity, here's an overview of the five different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Stand up for the Gdeim Izik 25!


Leading activists from Western Sahara are condemned to sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment in connection to a mass protest in 2010 denouncing the Saharawi people’s social and economic marginalization in their occupied land; the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
Support Western Sahara Resource Watch


Help us to protect the natural resources of Western Sahara for the Saharawi people. Support our work by making a donation.
Report: Moroccan green energy used for plunder


At COP22, beware of what you read about Morocco’s renewable energy efforts. An increasing part of the projects take place in the occupied territory of Western Sahara and is used for mineral plunder, new WSRW report documents.

WSRW.org News Archive 2018
WSRW.org News Archive 2017
WSRW.org News Archive 2016
WSRW.org News Archive 2015
WSRW.org News Archive 2014
WSRW.org News Archive 2013
WSRW.org News Archive 2012
WSRW.org News Archive 2011
WSRW.org News Archive 2010
WSRW.org News Archive 2009
WSRW.org News Archive 2008
WSRW.org News Archive 2007
WSRW.org News Archive 2004-2006

Register for our English newsletter:

These web pages have been built with the financial support of the trade union Industry Energy