septembre 29, 2012


Free Saharawi prisoners of conscience

22 Saharawi prisoners have been held without charge for almost 2 years in Salé prison, Morocco, accused of acts of violence towards the Moroccan authorities whilst the latter razed to the ground the Saharawi Gdeim Izik protest camp. Detention without charge for over 12 months is illegal according to Moroccan law. Although they are civilians, the prisoners have been called to stand before a military tribunal in Rabat on 24 October 2012. The trial, originally scheduled for 13 January 2012, was previously delayed in uncertain circumstances. Several human rights organisations have made statements alleging that this delay was due to Moroccan fears that their corrupt regime would come under an international spotlight when several international observers and media representatives arrived in Rabat to attend the trial.

The Gdeim Izik camp was set up by thousands of Saharawis in 2010 on the outskirts of Western Sahara's capital city, El Aaiun. The camp inhabitants called for an improvement in their living conditions and demanded their long-overdue, UN-backed right to a referendum on independence. The Moroccan authorities destroyed the camp, resulting in dozens of deaths, imprisonments, injuries and forced disappearances.