The interrogation session ended with the military prosecutor. Immediately after, the investigative judge’s session followed in the next room, where I found former colleague Hammoudi Hajoub waiting for me as he had become the military investigative judge.

I sat down and the standard procedure started of identity verification. He stopped to ask me if I wanted to start the interrogation or do I hold my right to have a lawyer present.

I answered him: Praise be to God, I found someone talking about rights. I am very very attached to this right, I do not need someone to defend me, you know that. I just need them to be updated on my mother and family and reassure them on myself. Since a week I have not had any news about them and I think neither have they about me.

The record was dated and closed... We both signed.


Then we moved to the most important point.

- Am I arrested?

- Yes

- If I may ask, can I know the prison I will be imprisoned in?

- The liberated territories

- !!!! The liberated territories are vast and I have no knowledge of a prison in them. For a week now, I have been imprisoned in the open air among trees.

- They said that they are about to build a prison to place you in and a court for your trial in the liberated territories.

I laughed, and said with unintended sarcasm: How generous !!! Do you believe this comic play?

- Some respect please.

- No offense intended, your honor, but you are sitting in front of me in the capacity of an investigative judge and as such you will immediately issue, if not already prepared, a judicial document called an imprisonment warrant with my name to be placed in a named prison. But when I asked you about my prison, you said you were told that they are going to build one.


I knew the situation he was in and the embarrassment he suffers, so I did not want to put pressure on him, but I told him they would only get him into trouble as all that will befall me going forward would be his responsibility since he is the one who will sign my detention decision, and I am imprisoned in the open air in valleys with snakes and scorpions, guarded by soldiers armed with machine guns, not prison guards.


The session ended. I returned late at night to my tree, tired. It seemed as if the Front’s leadership had already ruined everything in us, human beings, and next are the trees. The valley has been condemned to become a prison, and the trees to be its cells.


The next day, while I was napping under my tree, I felt something falling on me. I raised my head to see what it was, and  it was a snake !!! Terrified, I quickly shook my clothes to get rid of  him and he disappeared between the neighboring rocks.


Despite my panic and anger, I did not think about complaining, they would only move me to another tree and I just got used to this one. Her ground has become my bed... Here I lay down.. There I arrange my clothes.. this side is my tea fire pit and outside the shade my chapel ... Now how will I relieve the anger of the tree, so that it does not do it again, how will I tell her that I did not choose it to be my cell, and that she is luckier than her sister tree who was appointed to be my bathroom.. that I am tired of deportation... that whenever I get used to something, it is taken away from me..


My guards who were hoping their ordeal would end, their moods also changed, after they learned that they had become prisoners with me and they would have no choice but to wait for me to be released or executed. The front does not want me to enter the camps, not even if I was shackled with chains, and they will not allow anyone to know where I am.

But the guards were more merciful to me than the tree. Even though I remained isolated, they began to treat me kindly as if they were my cellmates. Their faces, tired from guarding shifts and living in the open, seemed more friendly, and they greeted me whenever someone passed by.

Even the two commanders accompanying me from the beginning, one of which was replaced by his deputy “Al-Mahdi Ould Biha”, no longer concealed their dissatisfaction with the jailer role the front put them in.


The story continues...


Mustapha Salma Ould Sidi Mouloud is a former police chief of the Polisario Front, and political dissident.