Monday 18th, May 2020
Nushatta Foundation Staff
In 2019, Mahfouda Bamba Lefkire was sentenced to six months in prison on the charges of “obstruction of justice” and “insulting a public servant.”
The Moroccan occupying authorities fabricated these charges as a retaliation to Mahfouda’s outspoken condemnation of the rigged trial against her cousin, Mansour Othman, who is also an activist for the independence of Western Sahara.
Prior to her arrest, Mahfouda Bamba Lefkire, who is a young mother of two children, was frequently harassed physically and verbally at the hands of Moroccan police during pro-Western Sahara independence demonstrations in El-Aaiún city.
On Friday, May15th, 2020, as Mahfouda was being released from prison, Moroccan authorities formed a blockage in the Hsysha district, effectively cutting off travel routes in the occupied city of El-Aaiún. Mahfouda’s husband told the Nushatta Foundation that the blockade was to prevent homecoming celebrations and political protests associated with the release of his wife.
Many NGO organizations, including Front Line Defenders, had urged for the Moroccan release of Mahfouda Bamba Lefkire. It has also been reliably reported to the Nushatta Foundation that Moroccan occupying authorities are using the COVID-19 shelter-at-home orders as a pretext to prevent any pro-Western Sahara protests.