19 February 2013

Western Sahara: President of the Republic Urges Ban Ki-Moon to Intervene to Seek the Reversal of Arbitrary Verdicts Against Gdeim Izik Group

Bir Lehlu — President of the Republic ,Secretary General of the Polisario Front Mohamed Abdelaziz, on Monday has urged the Secretary General of the United Nations ,BanKi-moon to intervene immediately to seek the reversal of the arbitrary verdicts by Moroccan military Court on Saharawi political prisoners of Gdeim Izik Group.

"I urge you, Excellency, to intervene immediately to seek the reversal of the arbitrary and severe rulings by the Moroccan military court, and the release of all the Sahrawi political detainees in Moroccan jails." writes President in his message to BanKi-moon which a copy reached SPS.

"I am writing to draw your urgent attention to the latest developments in the military trial by Morocco of the 24 Saharawi civilians and human rights defenders imprisoned in Salé following the brutal dismantling by Moroccan forces of the Saharawi protest camp at Gdem Izik on 8 November 2010."

"Despite the peaceful nature of protest at Gdeim Izik, the Saharawi prisoners were arbitrarily charged with "undermining the internal and external security of the State, forming a criminal group and attacking public officials in the course of their regular duties."

"The defendants reported on a number of occasions during their two-year pre-trial detention that they were regularly submitted to torture, including sexual abuse, in order to coerce "confessions". The Court refused to investigate such claims. Moreover, the apparent lack of evidence to support the charges against the political detainees, and the claims of torture, were seen by many international observers and independent human rights organisations as indicative of a judicial process well short of international standards, and a violation by Morocco of its international human rights law obligations."

"It is also worth recalling that Moroccan authorities failed completely to take heed of the recommendation of the UN Committee against Torture in December 2011 that it "should put in place stronger measures for ensuring prompt, thorough, impartial and effective investigations into the violence and deaths that occurred during the dismantlement of the Gdeim Izik camp"

"As I have reiterated to you, and to the Security Council on numerous previous occasions, it remains a significant stain on the credibility of the UN system that MINURSO continues to be the only UN peacekeeping operation established since 1978 to operate without an integrated human rights monitoring and reporting capacity."

President Mohamed Abdelazi finaly urged Ban Ki-moon to "ensure that the UN does its utmost to guarantee respect for human rights in Western Sahara, including through the institution of in situ monitoring and reporting, and moves quickly to fulfill the long-standing promise of a referendum on self-determination for the people of Western Sahara."


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