Sahara Press Service (El Aaiun)

23 February 2013

Morocco: Polisario Recalls OHCHR to Political Motives Behind Heavy Sentences Against Gdeim Izik Group

Bir Lehlou — The President of the Republic and Secretary General of the Frente POLISARIO Mr. Mohamed Abdelaziz called, in a letter a copy of it reached Friday SPS, attention of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay regarding the political motives behind the heavy sentences pronounced by Moroccan martial court against 25 Saharawi rights activists on Feb 17th.

"These politically motivated and unfair sentences, including that of life imprisonment, issued against Saharawi human rights activists, which were taken in a trial witnessed a lot of legal violations as confirmed by international observers, who were able to follow its procedures," wrote the President of the Republic.

The letter drew attention of Ms. Pillay that many international organizations and bodies of human rights have voiced deep concern over the course of this unfair trial, which was described by Amnesty International as flawed from the outset.

President Mohamed Abdelaziz said that POLISARIO Front condemns, in the strongest possible terms, this politically motivated trial and the unfair sentences issued by Moroccan military court against the group of Saharawi human rights activists, following their participation in a peaceful protest camp.

He, therefore, stressed the urgent and necessary need to establish an effective mechanism for human rights within MINURSO mandates, the only peacekeeping mission that is still unjustifiably mandated with a component for monitoring and protecting human rights.

POLISARIO described this trial as another "provocative step" by the occupying power, adding that this step "does not help in creating the appropriate atmosphere" for the direct negotiations, initiated by the United Nations between the two parties to the conflict POLISARIO Front and Morocco in the aim of reaching a peaceful and durable solution ensures right to self-determination for the Saharawi people.

The letter recalled that during the period of detention, which lasted two years, the group subjected to continued interrogation, torture, harassment as well as cruel and degrading ill-treatment, underlying that they expressed that all the testimonies claimed against them were fabricated and pre-prepared by Moroccan occupation authorities only for criminalizing.

Secretary General of the POLISARIO Front asked the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to "immediately intervene" in order that Moroccan government cancels these politically motivated and unfair sentences against the group, as to guarantee the full respect for their basic rights.

He finally urged Ms. Pillay to make every effort to ensure the protection of human rights for the Saharawi population living in the occupied territories, awaiting decolonization of Western Sahara in line with the principles of international legitimacy as well as pertinent resolutions of the United Nations and African Union.

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