The Sahrawi people's struggle for self determination
Sidi Mohammed Daddach (1957) was awarded the 2002 Rafto Prize for representing the Sahrawi people in their struggle for human rights.
Sidi Mohammed Daddach is a Sahrawi human rights defender and former political prisoner. Imprisoned for more than two decades by the Moroccan authorities, Daddach has become an important symbol of Western Sahara’s struggle for self-determination. He has spoken forcefully about Morocco’s human rights violations, and drawn the world's attention to the hundreds of Sahrawis who have "disappeared" after the Moroccan invasion in 1975.
Daddach was again arrested in 1979, and sentenced to death for having attempted to join the Polisario Front, Western Sahara's liberation movement. His sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 1994. In 2001, he was released by royal amnesty, after years of campaigning for his liberation by Amnesty International and other human rights organisations.
Peaceful demonstrations since the summer of 2005 have led to harsh repression and an uprising in the Occupied Territories of Western Sahara. Daddach is one of very few leading human rights activists who have not been jailed during these political protests. Demonstrators have been arrested in large numbers, some receiving long prison sentences, while Daddach remains pressured and harassed by Moroccan security services.