Mohammed Daddach

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Sidi Mohammed Daddach
سيدي محمد دداش
Known forHuman rights defender, political activist
Parent(s)Enguia Bakay Lahbib (mother)
AwardsRafto Prize (2002)
Badajoz Bar Association Human Rights Award (2009)

Sidi Mohammed Daddach (Arabic: سيدي محمد دداش‎) (born 1957 in Guelta Zemmur, Western Sahara) is a Sahrawi human rights activist imprisoned for 24 years. He is often called "North African Mandela"[1] or "Sahrawi Mandela".[2][3][4]


In 1973 he joined the Polisario Front, the Western Sahara national liberation movement.[5] In early 1976, as the Moroccan & Mauritanian troops invaded Western Sahara, Daddach fled with some friends trying to reach Tindouf to join the Polisario Front troops (Sahrawi People's Liberation Army), but their jeep was gunned & intercepted by Moroccan troops near Amgala. After two years of imprisonment (first in a military base in Marrakech, then in a subterranean cell), he was forced to join the Moroccan Army.[3]

Daddach was again arrested & badly injured in August 1979, when he tried to defect with other soldiers, and sentenced to death on April 7, 1980 for high treason.[1] He was imprisoned in Kenitra prison.[5] Amnesty International designated him a prisoner of conscience,[6] and other human rights organizations also called for his release.[7] In 1994, his death sentence was reduced to life imprisonment,[8] and in 2001, he was freed following a royal amnesty by Mohammed VI of Morocco, who described it as coming from "affection for the sons of the Sahara".[9]

In 2002, Daddach was awarded the Rafto Prize for his efforts,[8] and after some difficulties obtaining a passport, he was finally able to go to collect the prize in Norway, where he also saw his mother, Enguia Bakay Lahbib, for the first time since 1975.[7] She presently lives in exile in the refugee camps of Tindouf, Algeria.[citation needed]

In 2009, he was awarded with the Human Rights Award of the Badajoz Bar Association, for his defense of Human Rights. The prize was given by Guillermo Fernández Vara, president of Extremadura.

According to the Association de soutien à un référendum libre et régulier au Sahara Occidental (ARSO), he was repeatedly pressured and harassed by Moroccan security services after his release.[10][11]

On 29 April 2013, he was one of the nine Sahrawis injured during demonstrations in El Aaiun. Daddach needed hospital attention for a wound in one of his knees.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "España niega el visado para viajar a Canarias a un símbolo de los derechos humanos en el Sáhara" (in Spanish). June 6, 2008. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  2. ^ Natalia Monje (November 17, 2010). "'La posición del Gobierno español no se puede entender'". Público (in Spanish). Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Sidi Mohamed Daddach: "Canarias debe evitar invertir en zona ocupada"" (in Spanish). La Opinión. January 5, 2009. Retrieved December 12, 2010.
  4. ^ "España rechaza la solicitud de visado del 'Mandela Norteafricano', Mohamed Daddach, para viajar a Canarias" (in Spanish). Europa Press. 2008-06-20. Retrieved 07-11-2012. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  5. ^ a b Nicolien Zuijdgeest (February 2002). "Pardon for Mohamed Daddach". ARSO (Wordt Vervolgd - Amnesty International Dutch section). Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  6. ^ "Saharawi wins human rights award". 26 September 2002. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  7. ^ a b Sarah Coleman (February 2003). "Sidi Mohammed Daddach: Sweet Taste of Freedom". World Press Review. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  8. ^ a b "2002: Sidi Mohammed Daddach (1957)". Rafto Prize. Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  9. ^ "Polisario's sinking hopes". The Economist. 6 December 2001. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  10. ^ "December, Week 52 21.12.-31.12.2003". Association de soutien à un référendum libre et régulier au Sahara Occidental. December 25, 2003. Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  11. ^ "Weeks 25-26 : 13.06.-26.06.2004". Association de soutien à un référendum libre et régulier au Sahara Occidental. Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  12. ^ "Los disturbios se multiplican en El Aaiún tras la renovación del mandato de la ONU" (in Spanish). ABC. 30 April 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2013.