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Western Sahara Independence Activist Sultana Khaya Assaulted by Moroccan Police

HeadlineFeb 16, 2021

In the Morocco-occupied Western Sahara, renowned Sahrawi activist Sultana Khaya was brutally assaulted last weekend by Moroccan agents in her home in the city of Boujdour, where she and her entire family have been held under house arrest since last November 19, days after the renewal of armed conflict in the territory.

On February 13, Sultana was waving a large flag from her rooftop when Boujdour’s police commissioner hurled a rock and struck her in the head. Videos and photographs of the assault and of Khaya’s head injuries went viral.

The next day, dozens of Sahrawi women approached the family home in solidarity but were beaten away by police. As Sultana protested her house arrest, the same police officer struck her in the back of her neck with a nightstick, and she again passed out.

Khaya’s family is worried about her injuries but says that Morocco-run hospitals are not safe places for Sahrawi activists, and police have not allowed the family to summon a doctor to the house.

In 2016, Democracy Now! interviewed Sultana for our documentary “Four Days in Western Sahara: Africa’s Last Colony.” 

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