LAAYOUNE, Western Sahara – For Hatra Aram and her children, “home” is just a patch of rough floor and brick walls in what was once a block of apartments in downtown Laayoune, a city 1,100 km south of Rabat. The only refurbishing she could afford in recent years is the new awning that serves as a roof.
“I had to replace it after the attack of 2012. The police came at night and they beat me brutally before they burned the house,” recalled the 37-year-old Sahrawi.
Hatra Aram’s house was raided at night in February 2012 by a squad of Moroccan policemen in plain clothes. Every part of her body was badly beaten, especially her head and face. She said that she is “under constant risk of detention” for allegedly hosting Sahrawi pro-independence meetings in her squat house.