Mohamed El Bachir Boutinguiza was born in El Aaiun in 1974. His mother Mailemenin, who traveled hundreds of miles from El Aaiun to Salé to be able to see her son twice a week in prison, remembers his birthyear as the year before the Moroccans invaded Western Sahara. Mohamed is not married and has no children. Since he has a Spanish residence permit, he spends a few months a year in Spain to earn a living as a seasonal worker. Work in Western Sahara is hard to come by for a majority of Saharawis, due to the preferential treatment of Moroccan settlers. The seasonal work abroad allows Mohamed to help sustain his family in El Aaiun.
Like his mother, Mohamed Boutinguiza took part in the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
He was arrested on 19 November 2010 by the Moroccan police in the Linaach neighbourhood of El Aaiun. Boutinguiza says to have been subjected to various types of torture. Before the police took him to the police station of El Aaiun, Boutinguiza was raped with a metal object. During his detention at the police station, Boutinguiza was interrogated while being blindfolded, handcuffed and stripped of his clothes. He was subjected to electro-shocks, insults and deprived of sleep and food.
Boutinguiza was sentenced to life in prison by the Court of Appeal, and found guilty of the forming of a criminal organization and murder of a public official in the line of duty, with intent to kill. Like the rest of the 19 detainees, Boutinguiza has been on arbitrary detention for nearly seven years, and suffers still under inhumane treatment and are constantly harassed. Boutinguiza declared to the court that he was not in the camp when it was destroyed; where he could not have committed the crime because he was in El Aaiún in a friend's wedding. The sole piece of evidence proving the crime is the police records. The police records entails confessions that the accused urges are falsified against them, and signed under torture. Boutinguiza declared that he was innocent, and captured because of his political opinions.
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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