El Houssin Ezzaoui was born on 10 October 1975 to the family of Fatma El Hussein and Boujema El Mahjoub, in El Aaiun, Western Sahara. El Houssin still lives in El Aaiun with his wife and two young children. Possessing a Spanish residence permit, El Houssin would spend a few months a year in Spain to earn a living as a seasonal worker.
El Houssin took part in the Gdeim Izik camp, and was a member of the Dialogue Committee - a delegation of camp residents which engaged in talks with the Moroccan government to obtain better social and economic living conditions for the Saharawi population in occupied Western Sahara.
He was arrested shortly after midnight on 2 December 2010 at the house of his wife's brother, Mohamed Al Saadi, in the Al Amal neighbourhood of El Aaiun. Before being interrogated, Ezzaoui says to have been treated aggressively.
Ezzaoui says to have been subjected to various forms of physical and psychological torture while in detention. After he'd been stripped from his clothes, he was raped by the use of a baton, and urine and cold water were poured on his body. All the time he spent in the police offide, he was blindfolded and handcuffed, subjected to innumerable insults and kicks, deprived of sleep, food and water.
Ezzaoui was by the Court of Appeal in Salé on the 19th of July condemned to 25 years in prison, found guilty of participation to murder of public officials in their line of duty, with intent to kill. Ezzaoui explained to the Court how he on the morning of the 8th of November had passed out due to the teargas released by the public forces. He explained how he woke up the next day at the hospital, not able to remember anything from the dismantlement of the camp. Ezzaoui urged that he had not done any of the actions he was accused of, and urged that he was only imprisoned due to this political opinions and his role in the dialogue committee. Ezzaoui was condemned in the absence of criminal evidence, as the sole piece of evidence proving the acts committed was the police records, which Ezzaoui declared was falsified against him and signed under torture.
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.
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.
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