Pre-Report on the trial of the 24 de Salé from February 8 to…. ?? | WSHRW
France WEYL, lawyer in Paris,
International Association of Democratic Lawyers – Solidarity Law
Without waiting for the detailed report of the observation of the trial of the 24 of Gdeim Izik which finally opened on February 8 before the Military Tribunal of Rabat, I would like to share with you my first impressions and findings.
First of all, we must welcome the presence of a very large number of observers (in particular France, GB, Italy, Spain, associations for the defense of human rights, 2 euro Spanish deputies, 1 Belgian deputy, representatives of embassies from Switzerland and Canada).
It is also necessary to underline the constant presence of Saharawi militants, families of prisoners, remaining in court, families of victims, as well as a massive presence of police forces of all kinds, a large part of them in civilian clothes occupying the benches of the public.
During the first day (Friday 8) the debates which lasted all day until 10:30 p.m., focused on
1- witnesses: indeed at the opening of the hearing the representative of the public prosecutor’s office (king’s prosecutor) requested the hearing of 9 witnesses. The Defense objected to this, stating that they had not been informed, that they did not know them, that this did not respect the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Code of Military Justice as regards the time limit. prior information and that this seriously violated the rights of the Defense. The president said he was postponing his decision until the hearing of the defendants was completed. But it should be noted that as the discussions progressed it appeared that he would have made his decision in fact, having asked them to come back on Tuesday to be heard.
2- the incompetence of the military jurisdiction: the Defense argument is mainly due to the fact that the Moroccan constitution announces its abolition, that it recognizes the primacy of international law over domestic law, and that consequently it must apply the rules of international law, and the lack of independence of magistrates who are military like the victims.
The prosecutor replied that no law had yet taken place to abolish the Military Tribunal, that the military tribunal was not an exceptional jurisdiction, but a specialized jurisdiction, and that Moroccan law should apply in l state where it exists.
The Court decided to reject the Defense request and to accept jurisdiction under current Moroccan law.
It should be noted that in a recurring manner in the course of the proceedings, all the accused persisted in denying the competence of the military tribunal, in questioning its independence and in claiming to be tried as civilians, before a common law court.
Obviously this debate is not over and must be continued.
3 – the nullity or non-existence of all the acts of the investigation.
The reasons are in a synthetic way at this stage:
a / the absence of flagrante delicto
b / the conditions of arrests, or kidnappings, except in flagrante delicto, moreover by police authorities not having jurisdiction
c / the search conditions outside the rules prescribed by the CPP and the code of military justice
d / the duration of police custody
e / the conditions of the hearings and the taking of “confessions” (which are the only basis of the indictment) under torture
f / the fact that the PVs are not signed, but the signatures are by imprint, while the accused can read and write
g / the lack of information for families at the time and immediately after the arrests
h / the dismantling of Gdeim Izik appears to be a violation of domicile because the duration of the camp and its modalities had made it the home of those who had settled there.
The prosecutor responded very briefly to reject the arguments raised by asserting that all the rules had been respected, that the accused never declared to have been victims of torture, that the law does not say in what form to inform the families, that fingerprint signing is not a problem.
The Court again rejected the Defense requests, which it declared admissible but unfounded.
This 1st day continued and ended with the reading of the entire indictment; 1:40 (which is not long in view of the number of defendants and the seriousness of what is attributed to them).
Hearings and interrogations have started.
Enaama Asfari 10.30 / 16.45 (stopped on the 7th in El Aaiún)
When Ahmed Sbai resumed his illness and was evacuated to the hospital (we will have regular news from the President, and we will learn in particular that he cannot return to court before 48 hours).
Despite Defense opposition, the trial continues in his absence with Enaama Asfari until 18.50.
This poses a problem with regard to the provisions of the Code of Military Justice, and the fundamental principles of law, which will be settled by the Tribunal which decides that the defendants referring to Ahmed Sbai will be heard when he returns, and that he will be kept informed. of what will be said if his name is spoken.
Then Mohamed Thalil until 7.15pm (arrested on 5/12/10 in El Aaiún)
Hassan Dah until 19.45 (arrested on 5/12/10 in El Aaiún)
Then El Bachir Khadda until 20.10 (stopped on 5/12/10 in El Aaiún)
Abdallah Toubali until 10:30 p.m. (arrested on 2/12/10 in El Aaiún)
Etaki Elmachoufi from 10.30 a.m. to 12 p.m. (stopped on 8/11/10 in El Aaiún)
Mohamed Lamine Haddi from 12.10 to 12.40 (arrested on 20/11/10 in El Aaiún)
Brahim Ismaili from 12.40 to 13.50 (stopped on 9/11/10 in El Aaiún)
Cheikh Banga from 2 to 2.15 p.m. and from 4.10 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. (arrested on 8/11/10 in Gdeim Izik)
Mohamed El Ayoubi (on provisional release) from 18 to 18.40 (arrested on 8/11/10 in Gdeim Izik)
After the suspension at 19.30 the President calls
Babait Mohamed Khouna who says he is unable to speak
Sid Ahmed Lamjaed is in the same state.
One of the 24 rose to the stand and explained that they were in a state of exhaustion that no longer allowed them to respond to the court. After discussion, the Court decides to suspend until Monday 9 am. It is not possible to detail here the answers of the accused, and each of the observers will have to endeavor to make the precise relation so that it is preserved and disseminated.
It is only a question here of highlighting the strengths of their interventions, which all come back to the same subjects:
– demand to place the trial and the accusations against them in the general context and history of the struggle of the Saharawi people, of the recognition of their rights by the international community, of the legitimacy of the Polisario Front, its representative.
– demand to place the trial in the context of Gdeim Izik: how is born, why, what is the basis of the claims expressed therein, …
– the constant nature of a peaceful struggle, deeply rooted in Sahrawi culture, in the men and women who reject and reject all violence and hatred and respect human rights.
– the peaceful nature of Gdeim Izik, the dialogue with the authorities, the incomprehension of the 8/11 intervention that nothing justified
– the brutality of this intervention
– the hate campaign they are the object of
– the discrimination and harassment they experience on a daily basis
– their desire to see their existence, their rights, their dignity as human beings, their right of expression recognized
– they salute the victims and the Moroccan people whom they do not consider as their enemy, but also as victims
– they greet and thank the observers, international and Moroccan human rights associations
These vehement, passionate, deeply human, and emotionally charged interventions are met with opposition from the president who refuses to speak and hear what he says is not in “public action.”
He only wants to talk, only wants to hear what happened on November 8, even declaring to one of them, what you have to say say it in other circles… probably forgetting that they are detained! But the accused do not give in and demand their right of expression and defense.
– another recurring subject the conditions of arrests, detention, and detention
most often outside Gdeim Izik, before or after the 8th
* by unidentifiable forces (hooded commandos)
* to be taken blindfolded, handcuffed, to unknown places, identified as premises of the DST, then the gendarmerie, then the Court of Appeal of El Aaiún, then finally the Military Tribunal in Rabat.
* the inhuman, degrading treatment they suffered
Tortures are evoked with force and constancy, and at the same time with great modesty, there are things that cannot be said without aggravating the damage already suffered. This is how we all understand “threat of rape” and can only translate it as “rape” which everyone says is practiced with a bottle or a baton.
The same consistency is found in the denunciation of torture and inhuman treatment inflicted including in the premises of the Court of Appeal of El Aaiún through which they pass before being transferred to Rabat, in the military plane which transfers them, and in the room of the military tribunal which is the same as the one where the trial takes place – where they are held before being presented before the examining magistrate for the preliminary examination;
The same consistency in denouncing the torture and inhuman treatment suffered in prison during the first months of their detention, when they remained 4 months without seeing the sun in individual cells, without contact with their families.
All also affirm that in the context of the police and gendarmerie hearings and the first interrogation before the examining magistrate, they were not questioned on the facts which they are today accused of, but only on their political activities and activists, their convictions, their links with the Saharawi personalities whose names they give, the Polisario Front, and for those who were there their visit to the refugee camps and to the international conference in Algiers.
All also deny having signed the PVs opposed to them, and claim to have signed under torture, blindfolded, handcuffed, sheets which they could not read and which were not read to them.
They claim that the investigating judge refused to hear their complaints of torture and deny telling him that he had not been tortured.
On each of these points the prosecutor confines himself to referring to the signed minutes, which he claims were normally signed and drawn up. An incident will be high when the lawyers catch him in the act of a truncated reading of a PV whose entire reading confirms the denials of the accused.
Finally, all contest the charges against them, and which, as we have heard, seem to be based only on the contested minutes.
At this stage, beyond the appearance that wants to be given of a trial where the accused have the floor, where the observers are present, and from which it would then be necessary to deduce that it would be fair, it should be noted that:
– nothing explains why the police forces intervened this morning of November 8 in the conditions known to us and that all international organizations have reported
– no answer is given as to the conditions under which they were arrested, detained, tortured
the facts with which they are accused remain vague and general and are not supported by any prima facie evidence, the confessions not being able to replace them in view of the serious and consistent accusations of what they were collected under torture
– the Defense was not authorized to call key witnesses such as the drafters of the minutes, the Wali and the Ministry of the Interior on the reasons for the intervention, the members of the dialogue committee on Gdeim Izik before and during the intervention, the parliamentarian who could attest that one of them was not in Gdeim Izik on November 7 and 8.
– Prosecution witnesses, so-called new witnesses, whom the Defense does not know and cannot discuss, and which one can be astonished that they appear in this way after 27 months, when they could have been and should be heard. had to be notified to the examining magistrate and heard by him within the framework of the investigation.
– no investigation was carried out into the accusations of torture even though the defendants gave names even during the hearing
Under these conditions and at this stage, it appears that:
not only can the trial not be considered fair within the meaning of internationally recognized standards, as well as under Moroccan law, but also and above all no conviction decision of any degree or nature whatsoever can be pronounced.
This report, which is very brief and not exhaustive, is not intended to replace the full report that we have decided to collectively draw up at the end of the trial. But it seemed essential to me to already provide all these elements without waiting for this outcome, including so that everyone is alerted to the attacks of all kinds already observed and that everything be done to put an end to them and that in this way. state the accused are released.
In this regard and as we have told the families of the victims with whom we have spoken, we can only bow to their suffering. But this suffering cannot justify that the accused whose guilt is not established, to be condemned, under conditions which would only add suffering to suffering, and injustice to injustice.