Information Gdeim Izik Trial

26th December 2016; 23rd, 24th and 25th January 2017
Isabel Lourenço

Gdeim Izik trial
26th December 2016
23rd, 24th and 25th
January 2017
Isabel Lourenço
Member of Fundación Sahara Occidental

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Information Gdeim Izik Trial -
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Isabel Lourenço

Table of contents

1 - Introduction pag. 3

2 - Background pag. 5

3 - Acceptance of the appeal presented in 2013 and new trial pag.10

4 - Atmosphere surrounding the trial and the courthouse pag. 13

5 - Court proceedings/trial pag. 16
5.1 - 26th December 2016 pag. 16
5.2 - 23rd January 2017 pag. 20
5.3 - 24th January 2017 pag. 23
5.4 - 25th January 2017 pag. 25
5.4.1 - Verdict pag. 27

6 - Main findings of the trial session of December 26th 2016,
23rd, 24th and 25th of January 2017 pag. 28

7 - Conclusion pag. 31

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1 - Introduction

The “Group Gdeim Izik” case relates to the imprisonment of 24
Saharawi arrested before, during and after the dismantling of the non
violent protest camp Gdeim Izik in November 8th 2010, and one trialed
in absentia.

Gdeim Izik was a protest camp situated outside of the capital of
Western Sahara, El Aaiún, in the occupied territories of Western Sahara.
The camp demanded respect for their most basic human, social and
economic rights and the right to self-determination.

Moroccan authorities surveyed the areas from the beginning. Since
October 12th 2010, armed trucks, helicopters and army vehicles
circulated the camp areas, and the authorities constructed roadblocks
and checkpoints around the camp. On the 24th October the
Moroccan authorities opened fire on a vehicle trying to enter the
campsite with food supplies. A 14-year-old boy (Nayem Elgarhi) was
killed. He was buried in secret by the Moroccan authorities. The family
still demands that the officers who assassinated Nayem go to trial.

The Saharawi Dialogue Committee remained, in spite of the violent
actions, in dialogue with the Moroccan authorities. On the 26th
October, both parties agreed to hold a census of the protesters as a
starting point. On November 6th, tents were put up near the camp to
commence the census the following Monday, November 8th.

On November 8th, around 6:30 am, the Moroccan military attacked
the Gdeim Izik camp. Camp residents reported the use of rubber
bullets, real bullets, hot-water cannons, tear-gas, truncheons and
stones. As panic took over, clashes between the army and the
protesters ensued, leading to casualties and injuries on both sides. An
exact figure on the number of victims does not exist, as independent
observers were not allowed to access the area. Two International
Observers, Mrs. Isabel Terrazas from Spain and Mr. António Velasquez
from México were in the camp and made a video diary showing the
functioning of the camp, to escape the Moroccan authorities the two
observers had to stay hidden for several days in El Aaiun city in a
vacant house not even allowing themself to use tap water in fear of
discovery by the Moroccan authorities. Street riots broke out in several
cities of Western Sahara.

In the weeks leading up to the 8th November breakdown, Morocco
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authorities, created a successful total information black-out, except for
the video reports of the above mentioned observers who entered in

During and after the violence on 8th November 2010, Moroccan
security officials proceeded to arrest hundreds of Saharawi in
connection with the events, where many remained in custody longer
than 48 hours, and held without being charged over months before
released on provisional release.

The Group of “Gdeim Izik” remained in jail, and were transferred to
Rabat for investigation by the Military Court of Rabat in 2013. They are
charged with the death of 11 Moroccan police officers that were killed
during the dismantling but whose autopsies or evidence of their deaths
were never presented in court.

I attended the trial of the Gdeim Izik group in Morocco, Rabat, on the
26th of December 2016 and the second session on the 23rd, 24th and
25th of January 2017 accredited by Fundación Sahara Occidental. I
was also an observer in the first trial of this Group in a Military court in
2013. The objective of my attendance was to evaluate whether or not
the trial against the group was a fair trial, according to national and
international standards. I am a Portuguese human rights activist and
attended several trials of Saharawi Political Prisoners, visited the
Saharawi refugee camps several times and in 2014 visited the
occupied territories of Western Sahara to evaluate the human rights
situation. In February 2015 the Moroccan authorities expelled me when
I arrived at El Aaiun airport (capital of Western Sahara) to attend the
trial of two Saharawi journalists. For the past 4 years I have issued
several reports on human rights in Western Sahara and the situation of
the Saharawi political prisoners.

On December 26th 2016 I have attended the trial of the Saharawi
political prisoners known as the Gdeim Izik Group in the capacity of
International Observer accredited by Fundación Sahara Occidental.

The trial was postponed to January 23rd 2017 after 9 hours of hearings
in the Court of First Instance of Sale, Morocco, with the justification that
one of the defendants (Mohamed Ayoubi), currently on parole, was
not present.

The trial continued on the 23rd, 24th and 25th of January without Mr.
Ayoubi and the court decided to continue the proceedings on March
13th 2017. This is only a summary information of the
proceedings/session of the 26th of December 2016, 23rd, 24th and 25th
of January 2015, as well as information regarding the new judicial
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process and background of the whole process.

The right to observe trials stems from the general right of all persons to
promote and secure the protection and realisation of human rights
and fundamental freedoms.

The UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders provides that everyone
has the right, individually and in association with others, to attend
public hearings, proceedings and trials so as to form an opinion on their
compliance with national law and applicable international obligations
and commitments (article 9(3)(b)).

2 - Background - The military trial

Rabat’s military tribunal sentenced the 25 Saharawi known as the Gdeim
Izik Group on 17 February 2013 for charges relating to violent resistance to
the Moroccan authorities during the latter’s destruction of the Gdeim Izik
protest camp. Nine received life sentences, 14 received terms between
20 and 30 years, and 2 were sentenced to the 2 years that they had
already spent in pre-trial detention, one was given parole due to his
health status. The trial came after two earlier postponements (the trial had
originally been scheduled for January 2012, but was pushed back to
October 2012, then postponed again) for reasons that remain unclear.

I participated in the capacity of International Observer in this trial
accredited by Fundación Sahara Occidental which presented a Report
that evaluated the trial as Null and Void due to:

1st- Concerning the Justice Administration, notwithstanding the
Human Rights norms and international instruments, rectified by
Morocco and, although holding a strong police and judicial
contingent, it did not take into account, along the judicial process,
the current law, therefore WEAKENING, in judicial seat,
dependencies and institutions, the appliance of legislation, this
process having proved to be: NULL and VOID.

2nd -The Military Court, in charge of this procedure, which carried
out the trial’s stages and decision, in Rabat, capital of the Morocco
State, is an EXTRATERRITORIAL COURT. Its competence to judge the
facts and acts produced outside the territory of the Kingdom of
Morocco, makes it INCOMPETENT, according with the United
Nations Security Council’s resolutions, once these facts, are
circumscribed within the Western Sahara, a non-autonomous
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territory, military and illegally occupied by Morocco (the “
occupant country”), contrary to international law and therefore,
outside the sovereignty, competence and jurisdiction of this same
Rabat’s Military Court, the process developed in itself being NULL
and VOID.

3rd -The Rabat Military Court is INCOMPETENT under the
constitutional and criminal law, according to article 127, of the -
ratified Constitution of the Reign of Morocco, dated 29th July 2011,
being in fact an EXCEPTIONAL COURT, prescript and forbidden, the
developed process being of RADICAL NULITY. The Rabat Military
Court, presided by an ordinary judge “Zehhaf”, judged, violating
the application law, 25 Saharawi civilians, not holding the necessary
jurisdictional faculties. The form and tone of interrogation to many of
the latter, stating they had no sufficient education competences, in
order to pronounce the court’s legality, was totally inadequate and
a clear sign of discrimination and racism.

4th- The preliminary round phase of the crime, was converted into
the dominant and decisive part of the criminal process,
contaminating it in a serious and irremediable manner. The
accusation and justice administration system, regarding the proofs,
which might have been obtained illegally, is very defective. The
prisoners denounced sexual violations and tortures, as means of
obtaining confessions, which took place at the Royal Gendarmerie
police premises and amid the military and pro-military corps which
“in fact” operate in the Western Sahara, inflicted during weeks or
even months, and whose wounds were exhibited in court, during
the plenary and instruction phases, with many denounces, which
were not under investigation, as it was denied, including the oral
phase of the proving of such acts, and the possibility of their validity,
therefore giving place to FRAGILITY OF THE DEFENCE RIGHTS.

5th- The oral testimonies, were registered, years upon the taking
place of the acts, along with the inappropriate /unjustified
prolonging of detention, in police and penitentiary premises, amid
tortures, physical and psychological coercion, postponement of the
trial and keeping the defendants under protective imprisonment,
contrary to international conventions and the Moroccan law.

6th- Although over 2 years passed, since the 8th November 2010,
the date when the alleged acts took place, and the capacity and
preparation of both the security corps and forces, as well as the
Moroccan courts and judges, an ILL, INCOMPLETE, SLANTING AND
ILLEGAL INSTRUCTION was made. The inexistence within the process
of the identity and circumstances on the dead victims, inexistence

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of forensic autopsies (an important item to determinate the cause
of death, the place, moment and circumstances); inexistence of
digital impression proofs and white weapons analysis, inexistence of
morphologic studies and identification in films, make us consider not
valid , in absolute, the dictated sentence. And once that none of
the defendants are identified in the presented films, the instruction
and supposed accusation proofs obtained in the instruction phase
and presented at the plenary, they are TOTALLY UNKNOWN
REGARDING THE DEFENDANTS, together with the manner the King’s
Procurator presented and formulated the accusation. The existence
at the time, of the violent dismantlement of the Gdeim Izik camp,
under siege, surrounded by numerous state effectives and
equipment (which included aerial means and at least five film
cameras), make the “modus operandi” inconsistent / incongruous,
reported by the accusation, with the reported facts, with plenty of
void and imprecisions, which made it absolutely impossible to
recognize who, how and when, provoked the death of victims and
if it was violent. (The crimes appointed by those condemned were
desecration of bodies, criminal and murder association).

This defective instruction, made by the King’s Procurator, at the
Plenary, the very same day the trial hearings begun, to present, in a
suppressive manner (in non-accomplishment with the previewed
legal terms) the inclusion in the process of nine ocular witnesses of
the acts and whose statements could bring some light on the
authors identification and the circumstances of the crime
perpetration. Hawadi Radouan, the first witness, declared he was
present as an auxiliary corps, on the 13th February, at 13.15, local
time, not having recognized any of the defendants. The court’s
president, in the exercise of his state conferred powers, forbid the
plenary of hearing the remaining eight witnesses. Therefore,
impeding the defence of the possibility of proving the defendants
had had no participation in the violent acts.

The only admitted defence witnesses and able to testify were:
Mohamed Salmani, Bachir Salmani, Mohamed Balkasmi, Mohamed
Abhaoui and Hassan Dalel.

7th- Absence of guarantees in a lawful process and a correct
appliance of justice, given that the police, judicial procedures and
the oral trial phase, were deeply affected by the defendants
political activities and opinions, which overcame the
circumstances. This mission regarded the inexistence of an impartial
and independent justice during the trial, this process ought to be
classified as a POLITICAL TRIAL and the prisoners as POLITICAL

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8th- The observer mission proved numerous vices amid the
proceedings, which ought to have provoked null and void, from the
instruction phase in concrete and regarding the law applied within
the territory:

-the underlined absence (and denounced repeatedly along the
whole trial) of accusation proofs presented by the King’s General-
Procurator and the Judge of Instruction, MAKE THE WHOLE PROCESS
NON-VALID, as the latter did not exercise their lawful guarantee
function, thus violating the effective judicial protection principle ( in
accordance with its criminal system) and the presumption of
innocence, accepting the police statements obtained, as declared
by all the witnesses, under unimaginable forms of torture, IN THE
ABSENCE OF ANY REAL PROOF along all the process.

- Absence of identification of the held forces by the security guards,
holding incriminatory proofs in the instruction phase itself; signifying
that they were arbitrarily imprisoned and by the fact of being
Saharauis, associations’ members, Human Rights defenders,
members of the Gdeim Izik negotiation commission or for opinions
on the Western Sahara auto-determination, having been taken
away unto detention centres before, during and upon the Gdeim
Izik camp, with no connection with the mentioned acts, having
been kept for days under unaccounted whereabouts.

- Violation of the right of defence, through the systematic refusal of
proof of innocence, both during the instruction phase as during the
plenary, impeding in concrete, the possibility of proving innocence,
having been specially grotesque the proof presentation denials,
insistently demanded by the defence, throughout all the plenary
progress, as doctors for proving torture and important witnesses,
such as the Minister of the Interior of Morocco and the MP (member
of parliament) Gajmoula Ment Abbi.

- Absence of lawyers during detentions, at the police and judicial

- Absence of communication towards the prisoners’ families.
- The use of violent police methods, tortures and physical coercion
and all at the judicial quarters, carried out in the presence of the
instruction judge BakkalI Mohammad, deceased, to obtain
signatures in digital prints, at the end of the version of the guilt

9th- This mission proved the violation of freedom of expression,

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conscience, meeting and association rights within the territory,
awaiting the decolonization from the United Nations and the
celebration of an auto determination referendum carried out by
the Saharawi people; and that the expression of political opinions
which are carried out during the exercise of civil rights, recognized
by the international treaties, subscribed by Morocco, are hindered.

During the oral testimonies phase, the court intended to annul, at
any moment, and avoid such statements; and only were permitted
/ allowed, upon a strong defence from lawyers and a closed
meeting among the court and the latter.

10th- Detention, torture and sentence, as well as the Saharawi’s
demonstrators detention, correspond to the decided and
systematic repression policy towards the political activists within the
Reign of Morocco and the Western Sahara territory, as a method to
minimize the Saharawi people growing movement demanding their
right to auto- determination, recognized by the United Nations, in
the defence of their rights, which ultimate expression was the
Gdeim Izik camp.

11th- The state of terror which witnesses mention, the reports on
torture and repression, reported during the plenary, violate the
Morocco criminal law, which is applied to the Western Sahara
inhabitants, the international agreements subscribed by Morocco,
as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Racial Discrimination (1966), the international Agreements on Civil,
Political, Economic, Social and Cultural rights (1966), the Agreement
for the Prevention and Sanction of the Crime of genocide and
Crime of Tortures, (rectified by Morocco in1950).

12th- This observer mission could prove, that the necessary
conditions for the on-going of a just, equitable and independent
process were not met. The excessive and unjustified police
presence, in the hearings room, the court’s premises and in the
outdoor surroundings, where hundreds of anti- order vehicles, lorries
with water canyons prepared to intervene, situated in visible places,
together with the stress / pressure the observers suffered, both inside
the hearings room as all over the court, the threats upon translators,
whose families had been “visited” in Western Sahara, having been
adverted that translation activity was not to be convenient,
frequency deterrent effects all round the zone, impeded phone
communication, together with the media pressure on the Morocco
media, that along with the police force, carried on filming and
taking photos of the observers, and , specially, of the prisoners,
having been published in papers and magazines with no permission,

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constitute an inadmissible exercise of the power of state, which
played its direct influence on the justice process, deterring it.

All defendants maintained their innocence, professing that the real
reason behind their detention is their activism for human rights, anti-
discrimination and/or respect for the Saharawi people’s right to self-

They made several hunger strikes demanding their rights under
international law during the over six years of detainment.

3 - Acceptance of the appeal presented in 2013 and new

On October 18th 2016 the group of Saharawi political prisoners of
Gdeim Izik, currently imprisoned in El Arjat, received an individual
resolution for each of the 21 detainees from the Civil Court in Rabat, to
inform that their appeals presented in 2013 had been accepted.

The Civil Court's decision is dated July 27th 2016 and the prisoners were
informed on 18th October. The Moroccan judicial system, withheld this
information for 82 days.

The Moroccan Court of Cassation has quashed the decision from the
Military Court of Rabat in 2013. The Court Cassation referred the case
to the Tribunal de premiere Instance in Salé.

Tribunal de Premiere Instance in Salé is an appeal court, but since the
decision from the Military Court of Rabat is null and void, the
proceedings at the Tribunal de Premiere Instance de Salé is de facto
first instance.

The group was transferred from prison Sale1 to El Arjat after this
decision, on August 31rd, the prisoners were brutally beaten and most
of their belongings were taken from them.

On November 25th 2016 the Moroccan Ministry of Justice, 2nd appeal
court sent to all the 21 prisoners of the Gdeim Izik Group and to two ex-
prisoners released in 2013 and one on parole the communication that
a new trial would take place on the 26th of December 2016, in the
court of first instance of Sale with the process number: 2612/2016/582.

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The new accusations are articles 1291, 1302, 2673, 2714, 2935 and 2946 of
the Moroccan penal code.

1 Article 129

Sont considérés comme complices d'une infraction qualifiée crime ou délit ceux qui,sans
participation directe à cette infraction, ont :
1° Par dons, promesses, menaces, abus d'autorité́ ou de pouvoir, machinations ou artifices
coupables, provoqué à cette action ou donné des instructions pour la commettre;
2° Procuré des armes, des instruments ou tout autre moyen qui aura servi à l'action sachant
qu'ils devaient y servir;
3° Avec connaissance, aidé ou assisté l'auteur ou les auteurs de l'action, dans les faits qui l'ont
préparée ou facilitée;
4° En connaissance de leur conduite criminelle, habituellement fourni logement, lieu de retraite
ou de réunions à un ou plusieurs malfaiteurs exerçant des brigandages ou des violences contre la
sureté́ de l'État, la paix publique, les personnes ou les propriétés. La complicité́ n'est jamais
punissable en matière de contravention.
2 Article 130

Le complice d'un crime ou d'un délit est punissable de la peine réprimant ce crime ou ce délit.
Les circonstances personnelles d'où résultent aggravation, atténuation ou exemption de peine
n'ont d'effet qu'à l'égard du seul participant auquel elles se rapportent.
Les circonstances objectives, inhérentes à l'infraction, qui aggravent ou diminuent la peine,
même si elles ne sont pas connues de tous ceux qui ont participé à cette infraction, ont effet à leur
charge ou en leur faveur.
3 Article 267

Est puni de l'emprisonnement de trois mois à deux ans, quiconque commet des violences ou
voies de fait envers un magistrat, un fonctionnaire public, un commandant ou agent de la force
publique dans l'exercice de ses fonctions ou à l'occasion de cet exercice.
Lorsque les violences entraînent effusion de sang, blessure ou maladie, ou ont lieu soit avec
préméditation ou guet-apens, soit envers un magistrat ou un assesseur-juré à l'audience d'une
cour ou d'un tribunal, l'emprisonnement est de deux à cinq ans.
Lorsque les violences entraînent mutilation, amputation, privation de l'usage d'un membre,
cécité́ , perte d’œil ou autre infirmité́ permanente, la peine encourue est la réclusion de dix à vingt
Lorsque les violences entraînent la mort, sans intention de la donner, la peine encourue est la
réclusion de vingt à trente ans.
Lorsque les violences entraînent la mort, avec l'intention de la donner, la peine encourue est la
Le coupable, condamné à une peine d'emprisonnement peut, en outre, être frappé de
l'interdiction de séjour pour une durée de deux à cinq ans.
4 Article 271

Quiconque souille ou mutile un cadavre ou commet sur un cadavre un acte quelconque de
brutalité́ ou d'obscénité́ , est puni de l'emprisonnement de deux à cinq ans et d'une amende de
200 à 500 dirham.
5 Article 293

Toute association ou entente, quels que soient sa durée et le nombre de ses membres, formée ou
établie dans le but de préparer ou de commettre des crimes contre les personnes ou les
propriétés, constitue le crime d'association de malfaiteurs qui existe par le seul fait de la
résolution d'agir arrêtée en commun.
6 Article 294

Est puni de la réclusion de cinq à dix ans, tout individu faisant partie de l'association ou entente définie
à l'article précèdent.
La réclusion est de dix à vingt ans pour les dirigeants de l'association ou de l'entente ou pour ceux qui y
ont exercé un commandement quelconque.

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The defendants of belonging to a criminal group, violence, with the
intention to kill, against public forces in line of duty, which resulted in
death and profanation of a dead body, are:

•Abdallahi Abahah, prisoner number 772 (serving life sentence)
•El Bachir Boutengiza, prisoner number 763 (serving life sentence)

The defendants of belonging to a criminal group, violence with the
intention to kill, against public forces in line of duty, which resulted in
death, are:

•Mohamed Bani, prisoner number 781 (serving life sentence)
•Abedjalil Laroussi, prisoner number 779 (serving life sentence)
•Abdellahi Lakhfaouni, prisoner number 776 (serving life sentence)
•Ahmed Sbaai, prisoner number 771 (serving life sentence)
•Sidahmed Lemjeyd, prisoner number 773 (serving life sentence)
•Brahim Ismaili, prisoner number 774 (serving life sentence)
•El Arabi Bakai, prisoner number 778 (serving 30 years)
•Mohamed Lafkir, prisoner number 775 (serving 25 years)
•Mohamed Ayoubi (on parole since February 2013)
•Taki El Machdoufi (freed in February 2013 after serving two years

The defendants of belonging to a criminal group, violence without the
intention to kill, against public forces in line of duty, which resulted in
death, are:

•Naama Asfari, prisoner number 767 (serving 30 years)
•Cheik Banga, prisoner number 770 (serving 30 years)
•Hassan Dah, prisoner number 768 (serving 30 years)
•Mohamed Bourial, prisoner number 769 (serving 30 years)
•Houcein Zawi, prisoner number 776 (serving 25 years)
•Abdallahi Toubali, prisoner number 762 (serving 30 years)
•Deich Daff, prisoner number 764 (serving 30 years)
•Mohamed Lamin Haddi, prisoner number 782 (serving 25 years)
•Mohamed Khouna Babeit, prisoner number 780 (serving 25 years)
•Bachir Khadda, prisoner number 777 (serving 20 years)
•Mohamed Tahlil, prisoner number 765 (serving 20 years)
•Abderraman Zeyou (freed in February 2013 after serving two years

The defence lawyers are: Naoufal Cherkaoui, Mohamed Massoudi,
Mohamed Fadel Lilli, Mohamed Abou Khaled, Moulay Mustafa Rachidi,

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Mohamed Lahbib Rguibi, Dalil Bourdin, Bazid Lhmad, Naima Lgallaf,
Mohamed Lamskam, Abid Eddin and Mohamed Sadko

The French lawyers admitted to the proceedings are: Ingrid Metton,
Joseph Breham and Olfa Azaiz

In the session of the 26th December the trial was suspended to be
continued on the January 23rd 2017, on January 25th and after 3 days
of discussions on proceedings the trial was again suspended until 13th
of March 2017.

4 - Atmosphere surrounding the trial and the courthouse

Two weeks before the trial of the 26th of December 2016, the
Moroccan media started a "campaign" in which the main goal was to
identify the Gdeim Izik Group as common criminals and not political
prisoners and activists.

On at least two talk shows it was even mentioned that if the prisoners
would not "misbehave" in court and not entering chanting political
slogans and wearing their traditional clothing their sentences could be
reduced. The media is overflowing of propaganda since the weeks
following up to the first trial session and continues; portraying the
accused as terrorists and violent killers. The prosecution actually
litigates in the media.

Outside the courthouse the Families and friends of the prisoners who
were not permitted to enter gathered in a demonstration that was
surrounded by police, on the other side was a very large group of
Moroccans, which supported the families of the alleged victims.

Entering the courthouse all observers had to give their cell phones,
computers and ipads to police agents that "guarded" them until the
end of the trial. The observers had to pass three "check points" and
undergo body search and pass under a scanning device identical to
the ones used in airports.

During the second session of the trial on January 23rd, 24th and 25th of
2017, the same restrictions were applied to the international observers,
increasing the security measures with body search. Two "changing
room" cabins were placed at the entry of the court where police
women made the security check and body search of all female
observers. The Journalists and Moroccan civilians did not to have to
undergo body search.
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Also plastic water bottles were forbidden to some observers, not all and
the Moroccan lawyers of the "civil part" were allowed to have water.
On the second day my water bottle was taken away by an
intelligence agent which told me it was for security reasons, when I
pointed to the water bottles standing in front of the defence lawyers of
the alleged Moroccan victims he didn't remove them.

There was no drinking water available inside the courthouse.

The police presence inside the courtroom continued to be massive,
with police in uniforms and in plain clothes. A chain of policemen
surrounded the glass cage where the defendants were sitting in order
to prevent anyone to see them most of the time.

The indiscipline inside the courtroom allowed that some Moroccan
civilians exhibited Moroccan Flags standing on the benches and
shouting that the defendants were murderers. The Saharawi in the
room (one family member of each defendants) replied with chants
demanding freedom and justice.

Outside in front of the Courthouse, the security measures taken made
the Saharawi more vulnerable to the attacks of organized Moroccan
civilians. The Moroccan demonstrators received electricity supply from
the court, which they used for big loudspeakers transmitting the
speeches of King Hassan II when he invaded Western Sahara and
bombed the population with white phosphorus and Napalm the rest of
the time the Moroccan National Anthem was played.

The several hundreds of Moroccan protesters were organized and had
the support of the police, on several occasion they followed the
Saharawi in the street issuing threats but the police did not interfere.

On the 24th of January 2017 the Moroccan protesters throw several
objects against the Saharawi, amongst them: dead rats, water bottles,
bottles with acid mixed in the water, bottles with urine and oranges.
Several Saharawi were injured. Kamal Larroussi, a eight year old boy,
son of one of the defendants, was one of the victims.

Inside the courthouse Abdallahi Sbaai, brother of the defendant
Ahmed Sbaai was told to step outside the court room by the police
without any explanation and in a corner of the Hall of the Courthouse
he was told by the police men that surrounded him: "either you leave
on you own or we will put you in a black bag (body bag), he wasn't
allowed to return.

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Mr. Sidi Mohamed Balla, translator accredited by Fundación Sahara
Occidental was never allowed to enter the court, he was told by the
security officer in the outside checkpoint: "not even in your dreams will
you enter!!"

Mrs. Laila Faklhouri, another translator accredited by Fundación Sahara
Occidental, had difficulties entering the courtroom each day, and was
told that she was on a “non-enter-list”. The police at the first control
point, stated that the reason for the exclusion was the fact that Laila is
“Saharawi”. Mrs. Moe (international observer) spent around one or two
hours each day arguing with the police, demanding that Mrs. Fakhouri,
were to access the courtroom in her capacity of translator. Mrs.
Fakhouri entered the courtroom each day, but has been followed by
the police since the end of the trial, and has on several occasions
been approached by the police without any apparent reason.

The apartments of the families of the defendants, that they have
rented in Salé, were the whole time under surveillance.

On the 25th of January at the end of the trial session at 23h00, the
observers accredited by Fundación Sahara Occidental, Mrs. Tone
Sorfonn Moe, Mrs. Rosario Garcia Diaz, our translator, Mrs. Leila Fakhouri
and myself were followed by a police van until arriving at one of the
family houses where we were headed to interview the wives and
children of the defendants. We were told that it was not a "safe" place
to be.

The Norwegian observers Hans Inge Alander and Diego A. Vaula Foss
travelled on Wednesday (January 26th) to El Aaiun, which is the capital
of Western Sahara. They were stopped at the airport, and transported
back to the airport in Casablanca. They were detained at the airport
for three days, whereas they were without food and water on the first
day. It is believed that the reason for their expulsion is their attendance
at the trial for the “Group Gdeim Izik”, since other human rights activists
that were expelled, but did not attend the trial, were not treated as
badly as these two observers.

Mr. Mohamed Ali Haddi, brother of the defendant Mohamed Lamin
Haddi and Mrs. Selma Laroussi wife of the defendant Abdejalil Laroussi
presented written complaints on the 25th of January to the Public
Prosecutor of the Crown about the harassment and attacks they were
subjected to in front of the courthouse.

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5 - Court proceedings/trial 26th December 2016, 23rd, 24th
and 25th of January 2017

5.1 - 26th December 2016

At 10h00, in the court of first instance of Salé, Morocco began the new
trial of the Gdeim Izik Group.

Since this Group was detained during and in the aftermath of the
Gdeim Izik Camp in 2010 in Western Sahara, a non-autonomous
territory, this was once again an extraterritorial trial.

The group of 21 political prisoners entered the courtroom chanting
freedom and self-determination expressions like "Labadil Labadil
Antakrir El Masir" (there is no other solution than self determination) and
dressed with the traditional Saharawi costume - the Daraa.

Immediately they were placed in a "glass cage room" where they were
kept isolated and without being able to hear what was said in the

Only several hours later and after strong complaint from the defence
lawyers the prisoners were allowed to stay in a line between their
lawyers and so be able to follow the proceedings. Most of the prisoners
weren't able to stand up in a line due to health conditions – and they
were not given a chair, which meant that they had to remain inside
the "glass cage".

The courtroom was full of Moroccan police, plain cloth agents, some
Moroccan civilians and over 20 international observers (from Spain,
France, Italy, Germany, Norway and Portugal). The families of the
prisoners were not allowed to enter the court as well as the Saharawi
translators, who although they had accreditation, were prohibited to

The Judge allowed however the presence of dozens of Moroccan
journalists with photo and video cameras who filmed everybody
without the authorization of the defendants. These footages were
shown in all Moroccan media during and after the trial.

The defence lawyers present that I could identify were Mohamed
Fadel Lilli, Mohamed Lahbib Rguibi, Bazid Lahmad, Mohamed
Massoudi and Mohamed Sadko.

Two French lawyers (Mr. Joseph Breham and Mrs. Ingrid Metton) had

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an authorization from the Ministry of justice, in accordance with the
agreement between France and Morocco, to participate as defence
lawyers of Mr. Naama Asfari.

There were also lawyers who intended to represent the alleged
Moroccan victims (civil part), but it was impossible to identify them,
except two Spanish lawyers Manuel Lorenzo and Peñas Roldán, names
that were understandable through translation.

The presiding judge was Youssef Alkaoui accompanied by five other
judges. The prosecutor was Mr. Khalid Elkardoudi.

The proceeding was extremely hard to follow since all lawyers were
standing in the front rows and the translation cabins (English, French
and Spanish) were placed at the back of the room preventing the
translators to see who spoke, and since there was no order nor did the
persons who spoke identify themselves the translators were unable to
identify the speakers turning the whole process inefficient. Also the
quality of translation, especially the Spanish one, was very poor.

The discussion centred itself on these issues:

1 - The first question that the court raised was related to partial status
for the lawyer advocating on behalf of the alleged victims (hereinafter
"the civil party")

Also there was a debate about taxes that should be paid by these
There was no conclusion on this point, and the presiding judge
informed that he would transmit his decision to both parts before the
23rd of January.

2 - If the presence of the international lawyers was allowed or not, and
in which terms, and who could speak and in which language.

A group of international lawyers (around 45) sent a letter early
December to the Moroccan Ministry of Justice requesting to take an
active part in the proceedings, and demanded partial status.

The lawyers wanted to aid the defence by proceeding on behalf of
the international community on the basis of international law. The
international lawyers claimed that one of the most basic human rights
is the right to adequate defence, whereas adequate defence could
not be achieved without giving the international lawyers the right to
take an active part in the proceedings.

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The president of the court invoked that a party that didn’t participate
in the first instance, could not be a part in the appeal. Furthermore, the
judge claimed that the international lawyers didn’t have the sufficient
knowledge of the Moroccan legal system.

The international lawyers claimed that an appealed decision from the
military court constitutes a new process. Therefore, the trial beforehand
was to be regarded as the first instance. The defence also claimed that
the judgment of the military court is to be regarded as null and void,
and cannot be given weight in the new proceedings. The international
lawyers urged that the compliance with international law was
dependent on their participation.

The court invoked that international law does not prevail Moroccan
law, and furthermore that the Moroccan legal system was in
correlation with its international obligations. In that regard, the court
didn’t have to emphasize the international treaties.

It was established by the judge that in accordance with Moroccan law
the French lawyers could speak in French with the translation being
transmitted with the use of the microphone by one of the local
defence lawyers. But he also determined that they could not address
the court directly in French using the microphone.

3 - If the international observers who are lawyers may or may not use
the Toga in the courtroom, although they are not part of the defence.
The conclusion of this discussion wasn't translated, but no lawyer took
off his/her toga

4 - It was discussed if the absence of Mr. Ayoubi should or not be taken
in account to postpone the trial and also why he did not appear if it
was a lack of communication or not. The translation at this point was
incomprehensible. The judged decided that it was necessary to
postpone the trial since Mr. Ayoubi was not present.

5 - The question of provisional freedom of the prisoners, awaiting trial.

The French lawyer, Joseph Breham, referred to the recent decision
(12/12/2016) of the UN Committee against Torture in which Morocco
was convicted of multiple violations of the Convention against Torture:
torture during the arrest, interrogation and detention (art. 1) of Naama
Asfari, failure to investigate repeated allegations of torture (art.12 ),
Violation of the obligation to guarantee the right to complain through
reprisals against the victim and one of his lawyers (art. 13), breach of
the obligation to compensate and reparation (art. 14), The taking into
account of confessions signed under torture (art. 15) and ill-treatment

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in detention (art. 16).

The UN Committee calls on Morocco to compensate the victim, to
conduct an independent and impartial investigation into the
allegations of torture and ill treatment and to prosecute the
perpetrators and refrain from any act of pressure, intimidation or
reprisal, likely to harm the physical and moral integrity of the
complainant and his family.

The presiding judge interrupted him constantly and declared that this
decision had no bearing on the guarantees necessary for provisional

Mrs. Ingrid Metton said she would speak on behalf of all defendants
but was reminded by the judge that she was only there to speak on
behalf of Mr. Asfari. Nevertheless Mrs. Metton pointed out that the
conditions for the prisoners to attend and participate at the trial were
not met since there were no chairs and their health was fragile, as well
as the fact that the "glass cage" hindered them to hear what was said.

Some of the local defence lawyers (Mr. Massoudi, Mr. Liili and Mr.
Rguibi) argued that the right of a defendant person to provisional
release pending trial is a corollary of the presumption of innocence,
and is widely recognised in international human rights instruments.

It was argued that the prisoners on trial are innocent, and that one
cannot speak about a fair trial when 21 innocent men have been
imprisoned for 6 years. Furthermore, the defence argued that the
defendants are imprisoned based on a decision that is null and void.
The prisoners are not proven guilty, and their right to be regarded as
innocent until proven guilty is severely violated. Furthermore, the
defence argued, a continued imprisonment violates the right to
They stated that the defendants have all the guarantees necessary
and demanded under Moroccan law. They also referred to the
arbitrary detention and the circumstances of arrest of the defendants
that were a clear violation of the law.

The defence also claimed that the defendants are political prisoners
that were in negotiations with the Moroccan government during the
protest camp Gdeim Izik. It was argued that all of the defendants are
peaceful political activist that promote human rights and the right to
life, and therefore condemn the loss of life.

The defence invoked guaranties whereas the currently imprisoned
defendants have homes, jobs and no desire to flee, they have a desire

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to end this ordeal and that the defendants were ready to come to the
court every day, so that they could prove their innocence; both to the
Moroccan government and the people.

The judged ruled against the provisional release of all defendants
currently in detention saying that the court ruled that the torture
convention and the decision was irrelevant to the question on
provisional release depending trial.

The trial ended at 19h00. The prisoners existed the courtroom as they
entered chanting political slogans for self-determination of Western

There was no break for lunch and the whole proceeding lasted over
nine hours with only a few breaks of minutes that where justified with
"technical problems" and preceded always a decision to be taken by
the judge.

5.2 - 23rd January 2017

I entered the courtroom at 8h45 at 8h50 the police in plain clothes (28
at that time) were ordered to occupy the front rows in order to leave
only the back rows empty. Myself, Mrs. Garcia Diaz, Mrs. Tone Moe and
our translator Mrs. Fakhouri were able to seat in the 4th row.

At 8h55 the representatives of the embassies of Norway, Switzerland
and European Union in Rabat entered and were allowed to seat
behind us.

At 10:45 the presiding judge, followed by five other judges, entered the
courtroom and stated: "In the name of the king we open this court".

The defendants were brought into court in two groups. The first group
came and shouted Labadil Labadil Antakrir Al Massir (there is no
solution other than self-determination). The second group did not
come in and the president called for them. They shouted "torture
torture torture" through the open door. They came into the courtroom.
Later on it was explained that they were brought to court at 4 o'clock
in the morning and kept in a freezing room in the basement.

The family of the defendants entered the courtroom. As soon as they
entered the Moroccan civilians who where allowed to enter first started
yelling, Saharawi answered calling for the right to self-determination
while Moroccans called for justice and conviction of the criminals.

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Although the defence asked for chairs for the defendants in order for
them to seat in front of the judge and properly accompany the
proceedings, this was not granted and they were put in the glass cage.
The judge informed that there were "speakers" inside the cage, but it
was clear that they could not properly follow the proceedings due to
lack of order in the court room, the constant interruptions and shouting,
as well as the fact that most time the active parts did not use the

At 11h45 The judge informed that there was another room and since
apparently there was not room enough in this room, observers and
families should move to the room next door which had a big Screen
and according to him had all the conditions to follow the trial and that
this was the reason for the presence of cameras in the courtroom.

He told everyone that from that moment on it was forbidden to take
pictures (only the Moroccan press and agents were allowed to bring
cameras into the courtroom).

In the courtroom were about 40 observers from 9 different countries,
and at any given time there were over 60 policemen in uniforms and in
plain clothes in the room, many of them seated, which hindered the
public to attend the trial in the courtroom and forced many to move to
the adjacent room.

The judge started to call the prisoners/defendants.

Mohammed el Ayoubi was absent. It was reported that Mr. Ayoubi
had been informed of the trial by the prosecution that made contact
with a relative. Defence pointed out that this was not sufficient
information. The question posed was if the matter of Ayoubi should be
kept separate from the rest of the group, or whether the whole matter
should be postponed until Ayoubi met.

The court decided that Ayoubi's case should be separated from the
rest until March 13, 2017, and later be merged with the rest of the
group's cause.

The defence Lawyer Mr. Massoudi informed the judge that the
defendants had been awoken at 4h00 and held in the basement of
the courtroom until the start of the proceedings, where it was bitterly

Most of the time translation was not available since no one spoke into
the microphones there was no order in the room and shouting was the
method of communication.

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At one point Naama Asfari held up a paper with something written on
it, the prisoners were denied to have their pens and papers. The
defence lawyers argued that the defendants should been given all
writing material in order to take notes.

The judge ordered a two-minute stop so that everyone could have
pens and paper but without any success, the writing material they had
brought from the prison was not returned to them.

The judge continued to call the defendants.

He called Naama Asfari who called out that they still did not have
writing material and that the police officer said that the pen could be
used as a weapon.

The discussion went on between the judge, the defence, the attorney
general and the lawyers of the civil part who took part of the
procedures and spoke whenever they wanted although they are not
part in the process. The judge demanded to see the documents that
Mr. Asfari had in his possession, his notes on the case and to be shown
also to the Attorney general.

Mr. Massoudi, defence lawyer argued that the personal notes of a
defendant could not be shown to the Attorney General, "if the judge
wants to see them it, that is inside the law, but not the Attorney
general. What is the goal? To see what the defence strategy is?"

The Attorney General shouted, "I can see all the documents!"

The judge kept all documents.

There was a short break and the defendants had to exit the courtroom.
After the break the defendants refused to come back into the
courtroom due to the fact that they were not given their pencils and
notebooks back. The court ruled that the prisoners were to be given, in
total, three pens and three pieces of papers (in comparison; I wrote
out three notebooks and Mrs. Tone Sorfonn Moe two note books,
during these proceedings). Furthermore, the prisoners could only keep
paper that were in compliance with the case put forward and that
were relevant for the proceedings. The president would therefore go
through all the documents. The judge pointed out that this was a
“security reason” where the prisoners could easily “kill someone” with a
pen (to be noted that all defendants use writing material inside the
prison on a daily basis for over three years and the question of security
was never raised).

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Defence argued that they needed more time to prepare their defence
since some of them had not been able to meet their clients, despite
repeated requests to both prison and prosecution. Defence was
granted a postponement until 10:00 the next day. The judge stated:
"you wanted 24hours, I give you 24hours until 10:00 tomorrow". The time
was 17:40.

5.3 - 24th January 2017

I entered the courtroom at 8h45, the seven front rows were reserved for
the lawyers. On the right side of the court the rows after the lawyers
were reserved for the Moroccan families. The observers would have to
seat in the back. In the room there were 5 video cameras and
Moroccan journalists and intelligence agents with cameras.

At 10h45 the trial commenced, the defence of the accused started
the proceedings and stated that they did not had sufficient time to
prepare, they had asked for 24hours but were given less and therefor
asked for a postponement until 17:00.

The president claimed that the defence of the accused should be
satisfied with his ruling, where he ruled in their favour, and had given
them extra time, according to him from 17:40 until 10:00 next morning
were equivalent to 24hours. (In fact the time span is 16hours and 20

Naama Asfari requested his pen and paper back, which were taken
away from him the prior day. He shouted, “My pen is my weapon, my
words are my weapon”.

The president repeated his ruling, and declared that Naama should be
given his pen, and a few pieces of paper. Naama refused to receive
the pen and paper, since his request concerned all the prisoners, and
not just himself. He declared that all the prisoners are entitled to pen
and papers so they would be able to follow the proceedings

From the "glass cage" Cheij Banga shouted "this is a court room not a
police station! Don't touch my sister!!!" Shouting broke out and the
courtroom was in turmoil. Mr. Banga's sister was improperly touched by
one the police agents in the room, Cheij Banga saw this from the glass

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After a period of shouting and turmoil and shouts from the judge
calling for order the proceedings continued.

The next question raised was whether the civil party was to be given a
partial status in the proceedings. It was highlighted that the civil party
was given the case papers, without being a formal part of the

The lawyers of the civil part argued for their case for approximately
three hours, without interruptions. The civil party claimed that article 14
of the ICCPR also entails to a fair trial for the victims, whereas the
victims are entitled to defend their right in front of “these murderers”.
The civil party argued that the “Group Gdeim Izik” are tyrants and
brutal murderers which were extremely dangerous. They said that the
"poor victims, the police officers that were murdered, had no guns or
other means to defend themselves when they were murdered". The
victims should be entitled to face the culprits. The civil party further
argued that the Kingdom of Morocco was entitled to judge their
equals, whereas the great Kingdom of Morocco was superior and had
the jurisdiction to judge. The presiding judge not once interrupted them
to prevent the use of these kind of adjectives, and allowed the use of
words like "murderers", "tyrants", "assassins" and "criminals", not
preserving the basic notion of innocent until proven guilty.

The defence for the accused argued that the victims are protected
through the prosecution. The prosecution as a public office, that
protects the common interest, whereas the civil and the criminal case
should be separated. The defence of the accused argued that a
victims right for compensation is first and foremost relevant after the
culprit is taken.

The defence of the accused were interrupted numerous times. They
were not able to speak as freely as the civil party. It should be noted
that the defence of the accused was composed of several Saharawi
and Moroccan lawyers and three French lawyers. The Saharawi
lawyers were constantly talked down to, and the judge made jokes in
the middle of the proceedings. The defence of the accused was
prohibited to talk about the protest camp Gdeim Izik or the political
background. Although the civil part referred to and mentioned the
camp and political background for a good part of their interventions.

During the afternoon Mr. Deich Daff, had to be removed from the glass
cage and attended by a paramedical, he is a diabetic and due to the
long time without eating and the stress had a sugar crash, he was
given insulin.

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The court ended at 20:40.

5.4 - 25th January 2017

At 8h20 Myself, Mrs. Tone Moe and our translator Mrs. Leila Fakhouri
arrived at the court house. I entered whilst Mrs. Moe stayed to argue
with the police officers since they did not want to allow Mrs. Fakhouri to
enter, due to the fact that she is Saharawi, as they stated.

As soon as I entered the court room (first person to arrive) a plain cloth
agent called for other police agents to occupy as many seats as
possible in the front rows and mark the seats for the Moroccan families.

The proceedings commenced at 10:30.

Defence Lawyer Lilli pointed out some main issues that should be dealt
with by the judge: The fact that the accused still didn't have any writing
material; the threats made against Abdallahi Sbaai, the brother of the
accused Ahmed Sbaai, inside the court house; the fact that Mrs.
Claude Mangin, french citizen and wife of Mr. Naama Asfari was
expelled from the country and had no authorization to attend her
husbands trial and finally the fact that some members of ASVDH (a
Saharawi organization legalized by the Moroccan government) were
not allowed to enter the court house to attend the proceedings.

The Judge stated that he had no jurisdiction outside the room of the
trial and that he was only a presiding judge.

After Mr. Zeyou, one of the accused who is in liberty, handed out a
paper to his attorney, the judge ordered Mr. Zeyou and Mr. Machdoufi
(both in freedom with time served but accused again) to seat in the
back of the room.

The attorney general said that according to Moroccan law to enter
the country you may not pose a threat to national security, you have
to have enough income and a return ticket.

The defence lawyer Lilli, argued that Mrs. Mangin does not represent a
threat, has an income since she is a French public servant and also has
a return ticket. He also repeated that 3 pens for 21 accused is not fair
and that these pens do not represent a danger, he also addressed the
fact that in a public hearing you cannot prevent people form enter the
court house.

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The Judge once again said he was trying to conduct a fair trial, three
pens was all he had to offer, if he had more pens he would offer more,
and that the courtroom had open doors, what happened outside the
courtroom is not his business.

The defence of the accused commenced the proceedings upon
procedural matters. This raised questions about (1) the jurisdiction of
the court, (2) documentation regarding the arrest and custody, (3)
medical examination to prove the use of torture, and (4) witnesses.

The question of jurisdiction raised a particular discussion. The French
attorney started to read a memorandum, the judge made a joke
about Mrs. Olfa and her "Tunisian accent", saying it was very difficult to
understand her Arabic. This didn't seem to be the case for the
translators who were able to accompany Mrs. Olfa's arabic very well.
The French lawyer tried to bring forward the Geneva Convention, but
was prohibited when grand protests and screaming arose within the
courtroom. Moroccan flags were produced from the "families" and
they stood on top of the benches screaming.

Inside the glass cage the prisoners shouted: "Viva POLISARIO; Viva
Independence!" Mr. Boutanguiza shouted in Spanish: "We want the
referendum!" Mr. Abdallahi Abahah shouted: "We are here because
we defend our right to self-determination."

The presiding judge remained ignorant to the fact that the French
attorneys were prohibited from presenting their case.

The French lawyers wanted to leave the room since they were not
allowed to present their arguments, but the Judge told them that he
did not give authorization and that they should respect the court.

The civil party literally screamed out that the great kingdom of
Morocco has the supremacy over Western Sahara, and that the ID
cards of the Saharawi prove that they are Moroccans (all Saharawi are
forced to have a Moroccan name - their names are changed- and
forced to have a Moroccan ID card violating thus the right to their
identity). The civil party claimed that the French attorneys had no
respect for the Kingdom of Morocco or this courtroom.

The presiding judge claimed that the international conventions are not
legal instruments in his courtroom, and furthermore claimed that they
could not be forwarded as evidence in his courtroom, referring to the
CAT decision and the report of the Working Group for Arbitrary
Detention of the UN.

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Mr. Abdejalil Laaroussi had to be assisted by a medical team, after
having abundant nose bleeding. (Mr. Laaroussi suffers from daily nose
bleeding due to extreme high blood pressure and rectorragia and
diarrhoea due to the type of torture he was submitted to).

The defence lawyer informed the judge that the Moroccan family
members were menacing the Saharawi families and that they also
insulted the accused inside the courtroom, he said: "they are terrorizing
the accused and their families".

The judge answered that he could not use the word terrorism, since he
was in a nation of peace and were the law is followed.

The defence of the accused argued that all documents presented by
the attorney general, could not be used as evidence in the courtroom,
as they were extracted through the use of torture.

The defence gave the information of the gross violations of all
detentions for each accused. Mentioning the time of arrest and
conditions of arrest, which all violated the procedures of Moroccan

They furthermore requested once again provisional release, the
defendants where imprisoned for over six years, their trial was
considered null and void, how can the defendants have reparation?
asked Massoudi.

The prosecution argued that torture had never taken place, and that
claims about torture had never been forwarded from the prisoners. The
prosecution furthermore argued that the court had to trust public
officials, in which they were doing their job according to the law.
Regarding the CAT decision on the case of Naama Asfari, the
prosecution argued that Naama had never been tortured. The
prosecutor claimed that the fact that Naama wouldn’t go with two
police officers for examination proved that he was only making false

(Naama Asfari had, after the CAT decision, been approached by two
police officers inside the prison who wanted him to come with them to
Casablanca. Naama Asfari refused because he wanted his defence
attorneys to be present at the examination.)

The civil party supported the defence of the accused in their request
for both witnesses and medical examinations, but claimed that all the
documentations had to be put forward as evidence.

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The Court ended at 23:20.

5.4.1 - Veredict:

• The court ruled that the Tribunal de Premiere Instance in Salé was
competent and had necessary jurisdiction.

• The court ruled that the prisoners were to be given medical
examinations, both physical and mental examination, gave
immediately the list of the medical staff, the head of the forensic
department in Rabat, an expert in traumatology and a
psychologist, all Moroccan public servants.

• The court ruled that the defence for the accused could present
all of the witnesses, excluding the Moroccan authorities that had
been in negotiations with the Gdeim Izik dialogue committee.
Excluding a former minister and a MP, although they are no
longer in function. Thus, the police and gendarmerie officers who
drafted the “minutes” (documents relating to the arrest and
custody), were convened.

• Furthermore, it was ruled to postpone the discussion upon partial
status for the civil party (defence of the alleged victims).

• The court, furthermore, refused to grant provisional release.

• The appeal for the “Gdeim Izik” will resume in Tribunal de
Premiere Instance de Salé in Rabat, Morocco on the 13th of
March 2017. None of the prisoners were given provisional

6 - Main findings of the trial session on the 26th December
2016, 23rd, 24th and 25th of January 2017

The sessions were not conduced in an orderly manner, the lawyers
where constantly interrupted by each other or by the judge. The
prosecutor interrupted everybody at any occasion without apparent
reason or justification. The civil party spoke whenever and in what

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26th December 2016; 23rd, 24th and 25th January 2017
Isabel Lourenço

manner it pleased them although they are not formal part of the
process. The fact that the sessions lasted up to twelve hours almost
continuously did not help in any way to make the work more efficient.


•the court chosen is extraterritorial - The Tribunal de Premiere Instance is
formally independent. However, the defendants were detained
before and during the aftermath of the Gdeim Izik Camp in 2010 in
Western Sahara. A territory under illegal occupation by Morocco.
Since Western Sahara is a non-self-governing territory, the Tribunal de
Premiere Instance de Rabat is an extraterritorial court. Morocco’s lack
of recognized authority over the territory is clearly outlined and
summarized in the 21 December 2016 judgment of the Court of
Justice of the European Union, referring to the legal documents of the
International Court, the United Nations and the African Union.

•the defendants were not able, most of the time, to hear what was
said during the sessions, due to the fact that the "glass cage" where
they were placed, did not have any headphones or earpieces. They
were deprived of their pens and papers and could not take notes
from their own proceedings. The prisoners were not able to hear, or
contribute in any way, in favour of their own defence. For this reason,
the right to adequate defence is to be regarded as violated.

•-the defendants have not yet been proven guilty. Their right to be
regarded as innocent parties until proven otherwise has thus been
severely violated.

• the prisoners were detained from communicating with their defence
attorneys. The defence were prohibited, after numerous requests,
from visiting their clients and to plan their defence strategy.

• the proceedings contained three parties. The defence of the
accused had to defend themselves from two sides; (1) the
prosecution, and (2) the civil party (who are not formal part of the
process) - a case of “two against one”.

• since the accused are not yet proven guilty, the civil and the criminal
case should be separated, whereas the victims should seek
compensation after the accused have been proven guilty, that
means that the civil party should not take part in the proceedings of
this trial.

•the right to provisional freedom was not granted although the

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Information Gdeim Izik Trial -
26th December 2016; 23rd, 24th and 25th January 2017
Isabel Lourenço

guarantees demanded by Moroccan law were met and several
international bodies and mechanisms of the UN, the most recent
being the decision of CAT, refer to the arbitrary detention and lack of
evidence other than confessions obtained under torture, therefore this
constitutes a breach in the right to freedom (detention without
judgement, and since the previous judgement is null and void, that is
a violation of the right to freedom);

•although the defendants did not give their permission, journalists and
photographers, as well as video cameras were present during the
entire trial and images were taken and published. This is a violation of
the right to privacy;

•there were discussions and "recommendations" regarding the trial, the
defendants and even the possible sentences in Moroccan media
before, during and after the trial. The media was overflowing of
propaganda in the weeks following up to and even during the trial;
portraying the accused as terrorists and violent killers. The Moroccan
Court of Cassation has quashed the decision from the Military Court of
Rabat. The prisoners are therefore not yet proven guilty, and have the
right to be presumed innocent. This right is breached at the outmost
expense due to the fact that the prosecution actually litigates in the

•the quality of translation and the conditions in which the translation
was made did not guarantee that the international trial observers
could properly accompany the proceeding, as an example: on
January 25th all translators said at one point that the trial ended,
when in fact the judge said that there would be a break.

• the defence of the accused had not been given access to see the
full contents of the case file. To not be able to see the content of the
case file is a clear breach of the principle of equality.

•direct violation of Morocco's international commitments All prisoners
stated in the Military Court of Rabat in 2013, to have signed the
confessions and statements under torture and exhibited their scars to
the judge and the international observers. Furthermore, the CAT
decision (CAT/C/59/D/606/2014) clearly states that Naama Asfari has
suffered under violent torture, and that the government has refrained
from investigating. The Court refused to regard the CAT decision as
evidence, or in any way as a legal document. The presiding judge
“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”.

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Information Gdeim Izik Trial -
26th December 2016; 23rd, 24th and 25th January 2017
Isabel Lourenço

•the defence of the accused was not allowed to speak as freely as the
civil party. The defence of the accused were directly prohibited from
mentioning political issues, Gdeim Izik camp, or the question upon
jurisdiction. Whereas the lawyers of the civil part said whatever they
wanted, at one point one of them said to a Saharawi lawyer: “Don't
stand too close to me! I am afraid of you! Thank God I wasn't at the
Gdeim Izik camp - if I was - I would be dead too”. It was clear that the
discrimination was based on race and national origin.

7 - Conclusion

The right to a fair trial according to international standards and
domestic law is far from being a reality so far. The most basic principles
of a fair trial are not met and it seems that they are not obvious to the
Moroccan administration. International presence in the proceeding is
essential not only to witness and document the trial but also to uphold
the international pressure for a fair procedure.

Lisbon, 4th of January 2017

Isabel Lourenço
Human Rights Activist
Member of Fundación Sahara Occidental

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