Morocco, turning point in Western Sahara case, hearing today

Trial reopens and goes to ordinary court from military tribunal

23 January, 11:13

    A sahrawi rally in Algeria A sahrawi rally in Algeria

    (ANSAmed) - RABAT - An appeals court in Rabat is starting to examine the case of Gdeim Izik, a bloody event connected to the disputed Western Sahara. For the first time, a case so far examined by military tribunals will be tried by an ordinary court.

    The case is highly controversial in Morocco's political scenario with its indigenous Saharawi people pushing for self-determination and a call for controlled autonomy from the Palace. A former Spanish colony, the area was annexed by Morocco in 1975. Since then it has been at the center of a long-running territorial dispute between Morocco and the Saharawi, led by the Polisario Front.

    The case dates back to 2010, when 11 Moroccan officers were killed during operations to clear a camp in Gdeim Izik, set up in protest a few kilometers from Laayoune, in the disputed Sahara.

    In 2013, 25 defendants were sentenced to jail terms ranging between 20 years and life. Two defendants were set free, one was released from prison due to poor health while another was tried in absentia. Twenty one are currently in prison.

    The case will be handled by an appeals court after a law was approved, banning military tribunals from dealing with cases that concern civilians. The legislation will also enable the families of victims to be plaintiffs in the case and rid the trial of any ambiguity that can be part of military sentences.

    As of Monday, Morocco will be able to shed light on the case by hearing witnesses testifying and the defendants' version of events with both State attorneys and the defense contributing to define the responsibilities of the two sides. (ANSAmed)

    © Copyright ANSA - All rights reserved

    Business opportunities

    The information system of business
    opportunities abroad

    News from Mediterranean