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Sidi Mohamed Dadach, 52, 'The Mandela of Sahara,' pictured near El Aaiún city, in Moroccan controlled Western Sahara (Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic)...I was born in Guelta in 1957 during the Spanish occupation. I joined the Polisario in 1973 and was arrested [by Morocco] in 1976 and spent two years in jail. I was arrested again in 1979 when I tried to rejoin the Polisario. I was caught sixty kilometres south of El Aaiún, there were ten of us and eight made it [to the Polisario], one was killed and I was caught. I was sentenced to death in 1980. My cell was two and a half metres by two and a half, No.12 of Kenitra Prison, near Rabat..Most of the prisoners were Moroccans and I made friends with some who were intellectuals and hated the regime. We would talk of Western Sahara and they supported [the Saharawis]. They would execute men at night so every time I heard a sound at night I would think I was going to die. After fourteen years the death sentenced was lifted and I was given life instead, after that I could finally sleep. I had one hour of exercise in the morning and one in the afternoon. A French magazine wrote about me and I think that got me some sympathy [from the outside world]. In 1997 a delegation from the Red Cross visited me and in 1998 the Secretary General of Amnesty International, Pierre Sané, visited me. After that things got better, I had visitors and received good food. In 2000 Amnesty International started a campaign for the release of Saharawi prisoners. On November 7th 2001, along with fifty Saharawi prisoners I received a royal pardon. .I have spent more than 24 years in prison. For someone who was a prisoner for so long I was happy [to be free], but not fully happy because my country was still under occupation. We returned to El Aaiún and there was a big celebration, it was the first time the Saharawi were allowed to celebrate anything. I have been free now for eight years and I feel concern for human rights here so I joined the struggle t
Sidi Mohamed Dadach, 52, 'The Mandela of Sahara,' pictured near El Aaiún city, in Moroccan controlled Western Sahara (Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic)...I was born in Guelta in 1957 during the Spanish occupation. I joined the Polisario in 1973 and was arrested [by Morocco] in 1976 and spent two years in jail. I was arrested again in 1979 when I tried to rejoin the Polisario. I was caught sixty kilometres south of El Aaiún, there were ten of us and eight made it [to the...
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