Polisario head Brahim Ghali accused of rape in Brussels by Khadiyatu Mohamud

HRWF (14.10.2022) – On Thursday 13 October, the FEMM Committee of the European Parliament held a hearing of several experts on the issue of “Sexual violence and rape as abuses of power.” Khadiyatu Mohamud, who for years has been accusing of rape the head of the Polisario Front Brahim Ghali, was at the Parliament and shared her testimony with quite a number of MEPs.

During the FEMM Committee hearing, Willy Fautré, director of Human Rights Without Frontiers, raised the issue of sexual abuse by political leaders.

He first exposed the case of Khadiyatu Mohamud who has been accusing the head of the Polisario Front, Brahim Ghali, of raping her. She was then 18 years old and was working as an interpreter for the Polisario.  She had then been invited by an NGO in Italy. For that purpose, she needed the authorization of the diplomatic representation of the Polisario in Algeria as a first administrative step before asking for a visa from the Italian embassy. In his office, in the evening, Brahim Ghali blackmailed her, saying: a visa in exchange of sexual services. She refused but was raped. It took her three years to decide to file a complaint when she was in Spain but it was shelved by the judiciary.

The second case concerns Toufah Jallow, crowned in a beauty pageant in Gambia, who was raped several times by former President of Gambia, Yahya Jammeh. She now lives in Canada and also fights for justice. Human Rights Watch published an excellent report about the multiple rapes perpetrated by Yahya Jammeh.

In the evening, both women testified at the Press Club in Brussels, stressing how difficult it is to share such a traumawith one’s own family and to take the decision to file a complaint. Both survivors also explained that up to now it has been impossible to get justice in their case, which is unfortunately quite usual in cases when a prominent political leader is accused of rape.

These are not isolated cases. This year, a French minister was accused of rape by two women and two months ago, a young woman living now in Australia accused Zimbabwe’s president of rape several years ago. 

There is still a long way to go with male politicians at all levels who think they are above the laws.

 Photo: Khadiyatu Mohamud at the European Parliament