11 February 2013

Morocco: Authorities Impose Media Black Out On Gdeim Izik Prisoners' Trial, Says Saharawi Minister

Algiers — The Sahrawi Minister of Culture Khadidja Hamdi denounced Sunday in Algiers the "media blackout" imposed by the Moroccan authorities during the trial of 24 Sahrawi political prisoners, for a couple of days in Rabat, dubbing it "illegal" and "unfair."

"There is media blackout imposed by the Moroccan authorities on the trial of the 24 Sahrawi political prisoners or the 'Gdeim Izik group' despite of the presence of European parliamentarians and international observers banned from access to the court," the Sahrawi minister affirmed.

Regretting the total absence of information on the trial, Khadija Hamdi described as "unacceptable" the "sidelining of media present" on the spot by the Moroccan authorities, "leaving the international public opinion and Moroccan public in the dark about what is happening in the military court.

This "first trial of Sahrawi civilians before a military court," was described by the Minister as "contrary to international law and Moroccan law itself," saying that the decision to sue civilians before military courts placed the "Moroccan authorities in an impasse."

Speaking at the end of a meeting with her Algerian counterpart, the Saharawi Minister recalled that the only fault of the 24 members of the group is to have set up Gdeim Izik camp in occupied El Ayun (Western Sahara) "to defend their political, economic and social rights, "before being removed by the Moroccan occupying forces and thrown into prison.

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