Western Sahara

News in Brief

Sahrawi human rights activist Sultana Khaya is free! She’s receiving medical treatment in Spain.

Sultana had been under effective house arrest in occupied West Sahara since November 2020, during which time Moroccan security forces have raped her and sexually abused her sisters and her 80-year-old mother.

Sultana has had protection from house raids since Western solidarity activists came to stay with her on 15 March. However, other Sahrawis have been beaten for visiting or supporting Sultana (see PN 2660), and a large truck smashed into her house three times in the middle of the night on 16 May.

Three more US solidarity activists (from Just Visit Western Sahara) tried to visit Sultana but were detained on arrival at Laayoune airport on 23 May – and deported by the Moroccan authorities without explanation.

Sultana was finally able to break the siege after 554 days and leave Western Sahara to obtain medical treatment. She arrived in the Canary Islands on 1 June with her two international visitors, Ruth McDonough and Tim Pluta, to be greeted by thousands of supporters.

Western Sahara has been illegally occupied by Morocco since 1975.

On 8 June, Ruth McDonough described the human rights abuses she witnessed while living under house arrest with Sultana for 75 days to a meeting in London held by the all-party parliamentary group on Western Sahara. Video: tinyurl.com/peacenews3806

Topics: Western Sahara