The Saharawi journalist and political prisoner Mohamed Banbari is on the fourth day of his hunger strike in the Black Prison in El Aaiún. According to his family, he fell unconscious on several occasions due to the pressure being put on him and to a drop in his blood sugar level.
El Banbari, aged 46, correspondent of Équipe Média in the occupied city of Dakhla, was arrested on 26 August when he went to the local police station in the city in order to renew his identity card. Once he arrived at the police station, he was subjected to ill-treatment during four days and was sentenced to one month in prison.
That was not the end of the process. During his time in the Black Prison, he was informed that the occupying authorities intended to fabricate accusations against him. This manipulation is due to El Bandari’s refusing a freedom offer and a higher standard of living for giving up his beliefs as well as his media and human rights activities.
The judge of the Court of Appeal in El Aaiún delivered a 12 year prison sentence on the charge of incitement of the Saharawi people to participate in the demonstrations held in September 2011 and of his involvement in the killing of two Moroccans. According to the judge, the evidence relies on the confessions of former prisoners. Banbari says that the Court did not summon the detainees who, according to the judge, confirmed the charges against him. Only Atiko Baray was called and he absolutely denied all the charges.
Right after the sentence, Banbari started a hunger strike under the motto “Freedom for the resistance or martyrdom for the homeland”.
The conviction of comrade Banbari is the continuation of the repression of Saharawi journalists and media people on the part of the Moroccan occupying authorities in the occupied territories. It is a clear message that the resistance journalism is a target of the Moroccan authorities.
Mohamed Banbari began collaborating with Équipe Média on 27 January 2014. Divorced, he is the father of two children who study in secondary school.
Occupied El Aaiun November 12 , 2015