20 February 2013

Western Sahara: Amnesty International Calls for a New Trial

London — The organization of human rights Amnesty International on Tuesday called on Moroccan authorities to use civilian Court to give a fair retrials to 25 saharawi political prisoners have been sentenced on Sunday by Moroccan military court with arbitrary verdicts , asking for independent investigation on statements of Saharawi prisoners of torture they faced during their detention.

"The Moroccan authorities must use civilian courts to give fair retrials to 25 Sahrawis and fully investigate their allegations of torture" said Ann Harrison, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.

The military court of Rabat on Feb16 had sentenced the group of 24 Gdeim Izik to Nine with life imprisonment; four to 30 years imprisonment; seven to 25 years; three to 20 and two to 2-and-a-half years imprisonment.

"The Moroccan authorities have ignored calls to try the defendants in an independent, impartial civilian court. Instead they have opted for a military court where civilians can never receive a fair trial." added Ann Harrison.

"It is disturbing that the authorities have also ignored the Sahrawi defendants' allegations of torture and coerced confessions."

"The use of military courts, compounded by the fact that torture allegations have not been investigated, casts a serious doubt on the Moroccan authorities' intention and whether they were more concerned with securing a guilty verdict than justice".

"The defendants have repeatedly said they were tortured and otherwise ill-treated in detention, and coerced into signing statements, but there have been no reports of any official investigation into the allegations." said Ann, stressing that "any evidence obtained under torture or coercion to be rejected by the court."

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