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Getuigenis van Aichatou Ramdan Chafii


The Testimony of the Sahrawi human rights and Trade Union activist, Ali Salem Tamek’s wife on the occasion of the International Day of the Woman, March 08th, 2006

On the occasion of the International Day of the Woman on March 08th, 2006, I would like to salute the sacrifices and militant work of the support of all the women’s organisations, the democratic forces, and some governmental and parliament figures as well as certain media, intellectuals, writers and artists who supported me and participated in the unveiling of the rape that I was subjected to committed by the Moroccan DST agents.

Here is my testimony concerning what I underwent, and which was published on the Spanish paper, El Mundo in June 2005, written by the famous Moroccan journalist, Ali Lemrabet.

My husband, Ali Salem Tamek, was arrested in August 2002 in the Moroccan capital, Rabat, charged of “being a member of the Polisario Front organisations, the Interior Sector in the Occupied Territories and South of Morocco”. That was after he was dismissed of work because of his refusal to obey his forcible deportation from Assa, where he used to work, to Meknes Al Manzah, Morocco. My daughter, Thawra who was only two years old then, and I led a miserable life for two main reasons; we had difficulty with surviving on the one hand and the Moroccan Intelligence agents’ intimidation on the other.

They followed me when I visited my husband in Ait Melloul, Inezgane and Salé prisons trying to convince me to work with them, trying to seduce me sometimes and threatening me with inventing a “prostitution case” against me in order to put me in prison if I refuse spying on my husband and his comrades.

In June 2003, after paying a visit to my husband in Ait Melloul prison which is in a remote area, my daughter and I went out of the prison going home. Suddenly a car in which there were three DST agents stopped us. We were forced to get on despite my daughter’s and my crying. I was completely terrified. In half an hour, I found myself in a house in front of a group of DST agents. I recognised some of them: “Mbarek Arsalane”, the head responsible for DST in the region of Agadir, South of Morocco, to Dakhla in extreme south of the Western Sahara, “Brahim Tamek” a cousin of my husband and the brother of the Wali of Dakhl-Lagouira, Mohamed Saleh Tamek, and TAYAR Mohamed, a DST officer in Agadir. They interrogated me on my husband’s private life, his eating system, his behaviour towards me, towards his family and his comrades. They showed me a list of his comrades and asked me about them. They also interrogated me on our sexual relationship, his militant work in the prisons, his hunger strikes and his relationship with the Polisario Front. They threatened of killing my little daughter. But what is bitter is that they took off all my clothes, raped me all of them and disgracefully urinated on me. They did things that I’m not courageous enough to tell….They simply humiliated me.

They asked me to make sex with some of my husband’s comrades: Mohamed Elmoutaoikil and Hucine Lidri who are now in the Black Prison in El Ayun, in order to charge them of a “prostitution case”.

I felt that they were taking revenge of me and my husband because he defends his convictions that are different from the Moroccan regime’s concerning the Western Sahara.

After my husband’s release in the beginning of 2004, I tried to go abroad via Mauritania to reveal my testimony, but I couldn’t for things that were beyond my reach.

My testimony is not the only one. There are some Sahrawi women who underwent harder experiences, enduring different torture practices, among them is rape, that very few women can talk about in my very conservative society.

I am sure that what happened to me was targeting my husband since I was simply a mere housewife who had no political activities. Therefore I had to flee to Spain in order to escape from persecution and revenge.

Not only did the Moroccan authorities arrest my husband again and inject him with “certain injections” that he is still suffering from, but they also tried to put him in an asylum in Inezgane, Morocco. They also tried to assassinate him using a Moroccan prisoner in prison in Salé in January 2003, who tried to kill him.

Finally, I would like to sincerely thank all those who supported me and call them to help me bring those responsible for my raping to court. I also declare that I will go on a 24 hour-hunger strike on March 08th, 2006, protesting against what I was subjected to and against the flagrant violations of human rights in the Western Sahara.

Aichatou Ramdan Chafii
The wife of Ali Salem Tamek, the prisoner of conscience
in the Black Prison in El Ayun, Western Sahara
A political Refugee in Madrid, Spain

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