MOROCCO HIGH COURT REVIEWING KEY WESTERN SAHARA CASE | AfriTV Online

Morocco’s highest court is examining the case of 19 Sahrawi men imprisoned since 2010 after violent clashes with the police, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today. A verdict is expected on November 25th. The men are serving sentences ...

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MOROCCO HIGH COURT REVIEWING KEY WESTERN SAHARA CASE

Published by: A. Odean
11/09/2020 02:16 PM
19 Have Been Imprisoned for 10 Years; Trial Fairness under Scrutiny
19 Have Been Imprisoned for 10 Years; Trial Fairness under Scrutiny

Morocco’s highest court is examining the case of 19 Sahrawi men imprisoned since 2010 after violent clashes with the police, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today. A verdict is expected on November 25th. The men are serving sentences of 20 years to life after trials that were marred by torture allegations.

 

The Cassation Court reviewed a lower-court ruling on November 4, four days before the tenth anniversary of the incident that sparked the case, the dismantlement by Moroccan security forces of a protest encampment in Gdeim Izik near El-Ayoun, in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara. The defendants were convicted first in a military court in 2013 and in a civilian appeals court in 2017, for responsibility for the deaths of 11 security force members during clashes after security forces dismantled the camp.

 

The verdicts heavily leaned on confessions that the defendants have challenged. The courts should have investigated the defendants’ allegations of torture promptly and not after seven years. The failure to do so and the decision to admit the tainted confessions as evidence stains these proceedings.

 

Amna Guellali “The Cassation court is the last chance to put the Gdeim Izik trial back on the right track,” said Eric Goldstein, acting Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Everyone – the defendants, the slain policemen and their families – deserve real justice, based on a trial that was fair and seen to be fair.”

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