Detained Since: August 27, 2015.
Charges: Forming a criminal gang, participating in a murder, obstructing a public road, partaking in a fatal brawl, committing violence against public servants, and sabotaging things intended for public benefit.
Sentence: Six years in prison.
Biography: Mohamed al-Bambary is a Sahrawi media activist with Equipe Media, one of the few independent media outlets in the disputed terrority of Western Sahara.
In September 2011 he documented on video peaceful protests that ultimately turned into three days of violent clashes between two neighborhoods in Dakhla, Western Sahara after the conclusion of a local soccer game. Mr. al-Bambary’s reporting included criticism of the Moroccan government’s response to the violence. He was arrested on August 27, 2015 while attempting to renew his identification card at the police station in Dakhla. At the time of his arrest, Mr. al-Bambary was not made aware of the charges he faced. Mr. al-Bambary was sentenced to crimes related to the violent charges in Dakhla four years prior to his arrest. These charges included forming a criminal gang, participating in a murder, obstructing a public road, partaking in a fatal brawl, committing violence against public servants, and sabotaging things intended for public benefit. Mr. al-Bambary was ultimately sentenced to 6 years in prison by an appeal court in January 2016. While in detention, Mr. al-Bambary stated he was subjected to torture intended to induce a false confession. The authorities forced him to sign a confession, which he was not allowed to read or review. Mr. al-Bambary has been held in solitary confinement since August 2017, when he attempted to tell his family about a recent beating he had suffered.
Advocacy Partner: Freedom Now