Keychain leads to jail

Naâma Asfari, a Western Sahara human rights activist, has been jailed for four months in Morocco following a row with a policeman about his keychain.

Asfari was stopped at a checkpoint outside Tantan on August 14. An officer noticed a flag of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic(unrecognised by Morocco and most other countries) attached to his keychain and ordered him to remove it. An argument ensued, police reinforcements were called, and Asfari and his 21-year-old cousin were arrested.

It was Paris-based Asfari's third arrest in Morocco in the space of three years. "Moroccan authorities keep finding new excuses to lock Asfari up," said Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch.

The offending flag

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 1 September 2009.