Abdallahi Lakfawni was born in El Aaiun, Western Sahara, in 1974.
Abdallahi took part in the Gdeim Izik camp and contributed to keep the camp as organised as possible. On 5 November 2010, the wali (governor) of El Aaiun wanted to enter the camp, but was turned back by Lakfawni - an incident which is said to have been the main reason behind his arrest and conviction.
Abdallahi arrested on 12 November 2010 at Playa de Foum El Oued, 25 kilometres southwest of El Aaiun.
Abdallahi Lakfawni claims to have been subjected to different types of torture which lead to loss of consciousness during his detention; he was forced to undress, raped with a baton, burnt with cigarettes on his body, subjected to fake strangulation, ‘the plane’ and ‘grilled chicken’, and urine was poured over his body. Abdallahi was blindfolded while this horrific maltreatment was ongoing, and says to have been deprived of sleep and food.
Lakfawni was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Court of Appeal in Salé, in the absence of criminal evidence. Lakfawni was found guilty of the forming of a criminal organization, and guilty of the murder of public officials with the intent to kill. Lakfawni declared that he was present in the camp during the dismantlement, and explained how the Gdeim Izik camp was controlled with an “iron hand”, and how the camp was surrounded by military personnel, surrounded by a wall, with only one entrance. The military had made 7 checkpoints for us to enter the camp, Lakfawni declared. He told how he was asleep when the military forces attacked the camp, and that it was like an earthquake – it was chaos – people were running, and they screamed. He told how women and children passed out due to the teargas. Everyone walked back to the city. He stated: “If Morocco had wanted us to know the truth, we would have had the truth; but they have buried it”.
Lakfawni declared himself innocent of all charges, and urged that the police records, the sole piece of evidence proving the actions of Lakfawni, 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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