Do you want to get hold of the international observers at the trial in Morocco? Contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org, and we connect you with them. The 'Gdeim Izik group' consists of 25 central activists from Western Sahara, and activists which served as leaders at the so-called Gdeim Izik protest camp in 2010. The protest camp Gdeim Izik was a peaceful demonstration, where thousands of Saharawi’s demanded the fulfilment of both the most basic human rights, and the right of self-determination.
The Gdeim Izik camp was violently dismantled by the Moroccan authorities in November 2010, and the group of Gdeim Izik are charged with the murder of 11 policemen, who died during the clashes upon the dismantlement of the camp. The accused are furthermore charged with belonging to a criminal organisation, as the protest camp is proclaimed as a criminal organisation and not as a protest camp.
The Court of Appeal was on the 26th of December 2016 to address the appeal of the case of these 24 men. One of the original 25 was sentenced to life in absentia in 2013 and was not included in the new trial. Two of the accused was in 2013 sentenced to time served, and there are therefore 21 detainees. The ones sentenced to time served in 2013 are included in the new trial; and there are therefore 24 accused.
The proceedings against the “Gdeim Izik group" is therefore to be regarded as a political trial; proceedings brought up for reasons of political persecution rather than to impart justice. Furthermore; there is a blatant absence of proof against the defendants, and a great risk that the proceedings as a whole may be unfair.
The accused are presented as terrorists in Moroccan media both by the civil party and the prosecution. Inside the courtroom, both the prosecution and the civil party, raise questions about their relationship to Algeria, Polisario Front and their political views.
All the defendants are questioned about confessions retrieved through torture. All questions that bring forward content from these confessions are to be regarded as violation of art. 15 of the Convention Against Torture, where confessions retrieved through torture are regarded as illegal evidence.
“The international agreements are not a legal binding instrument in my court room, and I do not regard the decision from the Committee against Torture as any legal binding evidence”, the judge in the appeal stated in January.
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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