Sidi Laaroussi Abdeljalil was born in El Aaiun in 1978, to Kamel Mohamed and Monina Cori. His parents nowadays live in Boujdour, about 170 kilometres further south, but Laaroussi stayed in El Aaiun where he raised a family of his own; he is the father of two young children. With her husband and provider gone, Laaroussi's wife has taken their children and moved back in with her parents.
Life hasn't been easy for Laaroussi, who as the breadwinner of his family struggled to find steady employment. Like thousands of other Saharawis, it was the social and economic marginalisation that drove him to the Gdeim Izik camp.
On 13 November 2010, 5 days after the camp had been burned down by the Moroccan army, Laaroussi was arrested in his parents' house in Boujdour. He was taken to the police station in El Aaiun where he was subjected to grave human rights violations during his detention. He spent four days naked, blindfolded and handcuffed, he was tortured, electro-shocked and threatened with rape. The police threatened to bring his wife to the police station and rape her before Laaroussi's very eyes.
The maltreatment has had its effects: Laaroussi still has difficulty walking due to loss of balance. During the visit of the UN committee on Arbitrary detention in 2013, Laroussi was separated from the rest of the group and placed with the common criminals.
Laroussi was sentenced to life in prison by the Court of Appeal on the 19th of July, and found guilty of the forming of a criminal organization and murder of public officials in the line of duty, with intent to kill. The prosecutor claimed that Laroussi oversaw the security forces in the Gdeim Izik camp, which according to the prosecutor was a military camp, aiming to destabilize the region.
Laroussi declared to the court that he visited the camp Gdeim Izik twice, where he visited his aunt. On the 7th of November 2010 Laaroussi was in Bojador to take care of his sick mother, and Laroussi declared that he stayed in Bojador until the 12th of November, when he was arrested by public servants which broke into his cousin’s house. The sole piece of evidence against Laroussi is the police records, which entail confessions signed under torture. All the accused urges that the police records are falsified against them, and that the Moroccan government is covering up the truth about how they in the early hours on the 8th of November attacked thousands of civilians whilst they were sleeping.
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.
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.
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.
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.