The Kafkaesque trial against 24 leading activists from Western Sahara is soon coming to an end in a Moroccan court. The group was already convicted to large sentences by a military court in 2013 for acts supposedly committed in 2010.
During the proceedings held the first week of the fifth session, the doctors that conducted the medical expertise was questioned and the civil party which are representing the victims gave their final pleadings.
The doctors who had conducted the medical expertise stated in court that the marks found on the detainees had several possible causes, and that the doctors therefore could neither confirm nor deny the possibility torture. However, the doctor stated that the possibility for torture was weak, as the pain felt by the detainees was subjective pain, and that it was normal for prisoners to feel depressed.
During the last week, the Civil party invoked to alter the charges. During the proceedings held in May, the prosecutor laid out the evidence file. For further detail upon what happened during the proceedings held in May, download a comprehensive observation report.
The international observers Tone Sørfonn Moe and Isabel Lourenco has, as highlighted in their report, concluded that the prosecutor has not proven the crime.The accused are charged with murdering 11 members of the civil forces, and the prosecutor has in this instance not actually proven that 11 casualties occurred, nor proven a link between the accused and the murders. The civil party argued during the proceedings held from the 5th of June to the 8th of June that the court, in order to convict the culprits, had an obligation to alter the charges as it was impossible to prove the murder. The civil party thus requested the court to alter the charges from murder charges to charges based on internal terrorism.
Leave a greeting of support to the prisoners To show your support to the political prisoners of the Gdeim Izik Group, it is possible to write a personal message , which is then transmitted to them via their family members.The civil party stated that the accused had traveled to Algeria for a conference, and plotted with the Algerian government and the Polisario Front in order to threaten the internal security of Morocco and in order to occupy land and give it to Algeria. The civil party furthermore stated that the accused had mobilized people by telling them that the camp had social demands, when they actually had political goals and goals of turning the camp into a military camp, with the aim of attacking the law enforcement and committing mass slaughter.
The civil party also stated that the accused are terrorists that invented the use of terrorism with cars, and that the Gdeim Izik camp was so horrific that it even exceeds the horror of the ISIS camps. It urged that the political statements given by the accused and their chanting of the political slogans and their loyalty to the Polisario Front was a way of confessing to the crime, and that the accused tried to justify their actions with this kind of behavior. To read more about the proceedings held from the 5th of June to the 8th of June, download a statement given by the international observers Tone Sørfonn Moe and Isabel Lourenco.
As it follows, the accused are now in danger of facing new charges based on terrorism with the death penalty as the only possible sentence.
The court adjourned until the 11th of June, when the proceedings will commence with the closing arguments from the prosecutor, and thereafter from the defense.
"It appears crystal clear that this court case is a political trial, where the Moroccan government is trying to cover up what happened on the 8th of November 2010, as the law enforcement attacked the Gdeim Izik camp with force. The accused are clearly political prisoners who have all suffered from torture and ill-treatment due to their political beliefs, and that the ones detained are not the ones who committed the crimes on the 8th of November. The group is subjected to arbitrary detention. In such an instance there is an urgent need to both investigative who actually committed the crimes, but also to give the detainees a fair trial, and to uphold the burden of proof", Ms. Moe and Lourenco stated to the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara.
Since 1975, three quarters of the territory of Western Sahara has been occupied by Morocco. A majority of the population is still living in refugee camps in Algeria. Those who remained in their homeland are subjected to serious harassment from the Moroccan occupiers. For more than 40 years the Sahrawis have been waiting for the fullfilment of their legitimate right to self-determination.
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