Urgent Action Update: SAHRAWI ACTIVIST RAPED BY MOROCCAN FORCES (Morocco/Western Sahara: UA 33.21)
November 30, 2021
On November 15, 2021, Moroccan security forces broke into the house of Sultana Khaya, Sahrawi woman activist and defender of Sahrawis’ right to self-determination. They raped her and sexually abused her sisters and 80-year-old mother. This is not the first time Moroccan forces have committed acts of torture and other ill-treatment against Sultana Khaya and her family, who have been under de facto house arrest since November 2020.
Please take action as-soon-as possible. This Urgent Action expires on January 25, 2021.
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Mr.Saad Eddine El Othmani
Head of Government of the Kingdom of Morocco
Palais Royal Touarga
Rabat 10070, Morocco
Her Highness Princess Lalla Joumala
Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco
3508 International Drive NW
Washington, DC 20008
Phone: 202 462 7979 I Fax: 202 462 7643
Email: washingtone[email protected]
Salutation: Your Highness
At 5:30am on November 15, 2021, dozens of members of the Moroccan security forces in civilian clothes broke into the house of Sahrawi woman activist Sultana Khaya, where she is under de facto house arrest along with her two sisters and mother, subjected her to rape and sexually harassed her sisters and mother. They also searched the house, after entering from the roof, damaging doors and closets, throwing belongings onto the floor and pouring toxic substances around the house. The authorities have still never presented Sultana Khaya with an arrest warrant or justification for the house arrest.
Four of the security agents held Sultana Khaya down on the floor and immobilized her, one by putting his hands on her mouth and one by putting his ankle on her flank before opening the bottom of her traditional dress and raping her by the insertion of four fingers inside her vagina for around 20 minutes, according to testimonies from Sultana and sister, Waara Khaya to Amnesty International. The men also sexually assaulted her mother and two sisters, touching them inappropriately. According to Waara Khaya’s testimony, they put their hands inside her trousers and touched her breasts.
Sultana Khaya told Amnesty International that she was left with wounds from the rape. She did not go to a doctor because she is prevented from leaving the house and from receiving visitors, due to their house arrest. Security forces have repeatedly assaulted Sultana Khaya, members of her family and their visitors since the start of the house arrest in November 2020.
I urge you to put an immediate end to the brutal attacks against Sultana Khaya and her family and to carry out a prompt, thorough, independent, impartial, transparent, and effective investigation into the security forces’ abusive force and attacks against her and her family, including the report of rape and sexual assault, and ensure that those suspected to be responsible are brought to justice in fair trials. I urge you to ensure that Sultana Khaya and her family are provided with access to justice and effective remedies, including adequate compensation, and guarantee of non-repetition for the violations of human rights to which they have been subjected. I further urge you to immediately end the arbitrary house arrest against Sultana Khaya and her family and respect their rights to freedom of movement, expression, and association.