In September 15th 2018 Bachir Khadda, a Sahrawi journalist and human rights activist currently jailed in Tifilt prison in central Morocco, embarked on an indefinite hunger strike in protest against conditions he is kept in.
According to his brother Brahim Khadda, Bachir went on hunger strike after prison authorities had denied him his legal right to continue his university education from prison and also a request to be transferred to a prison closer to his family home.
“Bachir tried in different ways and wrote letters to Moroccan authorities, asking them to respond positively to his demands but they dealt with him harshly.”
Brahim Khadda told Equipe Media that during a recent visit his brother’s health condition had seriously deteriorated and that Bachir is now confined to a wheelchair. “The hunger strike has taken its’ toll on his body and on his mind.”
Bachir Khadda is a citizen journalist and a coordinator of video archives for Equipe Media, incarcerated in Tifilt prison among 24 other Sahrawi activists known as the “Gdem Izik 25”.
In 2017 a Moroccan court sentenced the Gdeim Izik 25 to sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment for their participation in the protests of Gdeim Izik in 2010. Gdeim Izik was a peaceful protest, described by many as the precursor to the Arab Spring, where around twenty thousand Sahrawi women, men and children participated in setting up a camp outside the city of Layyune in October 9th 2010. The camp was a protest against the conditions of life under occupation and a demand for improvements. The camp was violently dismantled by Moroccan occupying forces on November 8th, resulting in the death of eleven Moroccan police and two civilians. The aftermath saw a series of mass arrests and acts of retaliation on behalf of Moroccan settlers in Western Sahara and Moroccan police, including rampant beatings and abuse of detainees.
Tlaxcala update: Bachir stopped his hunger strike on its 43rd day