Civilian court follows military court against Saharawi activists

Verdict comes after years of accusations that the trials were politically motivated, imprisoning activists who stood up against Morocco's social and economic deprivation of Saharawis.
Published: 19.07 - 2017 12:30Printer version    

Want to know more about this particular case? Interested to learn more about the Gdeim Izik 25? Please check our background dossier on Gdeim Izik here.
The civilian court of Salé (near Rabat) has largely upheld the severe sentences issued by a military tribunal against a group of 25 Saharawi activists.

Update: Download report from the trial, dated 21 Sept 2017.

International observers qualify the verdict as extremely harsh and decry the lack of evidence against the convicted Saharawis.

The so-called Gdeim Izik group had been arrested and previously convicted in relation to the Moroccan army’s dismantling of the Gdeim Izik camp - a mass protest camp denouncing the Saharawi people's social and economic marginalization in their occupied homeland. On 8 November 2010, the Moroccan security forces destroyed the camp, resulting in violent clashes between the security forces and Saharawi protesters.

The 25 men have been arrested and tried on charges of inciting or participating in violence against security forces “leading to death with intent,” and participation in a criminal organization. All of them are however known for their activism for Saharawi rights or independence.

The entire group had been originally condemned in February 2013 by a military tribunal, based on testimonies obtained under torture, as documented by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Most were given harsh sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment. On 27 July 2016, Morocco’s court of cassation ruled that the Gdeim Izik prisoners would be granted a civilian re-trial before the Salé court of appeals. Most of the group have already served more than six years in prison.

The Appeal Court in Salé issued its verdict at 04:45 on the 19th of July 2017 the following verdict against the Group Gdeim Izik:

Sentenced to life in prison:
Ahmed Sbai
Brahim Ismaïli
Abdalahi Lakfawni
Laaroussi Abdeljalil
Mohamed El Bachir Boutinguiza
Mohamed Bani
Sidi Abdallah B'hah
Sidahmed Lemjeyid

Sentenced to 30 years in prison:
Eênama Asfari
Mohamed Bourial
Cheikh Banga

Sentenced to 25 years in prison:
Hassan Dah
El Houssin Ezzaoui
Mohamed Lamin Haddi
Mohamed Embarek Lefkir
Babait Mohamed Khuna Babait

Sentenced to 20 years in prison:
Mohamed Tahlil
El Bachir Khadda
Abdallahi Toubali

Granted liberty:
Deich Eddaf condemned to six and a half years, which is less than the time he has so far spent in prison. Daf had been sentenced to 25 years by the military court.
Larabi El Bakay has been condemned to four and a half years, which is less than the time he has so far spent in prison. The military court had sentenced El Bakay to 25 years.

Two of the Gdeim Izik prisoners were sentenced to time in prison back in 2013, and both of them were again condemned to the two years they had already served in prison. Another member of the group, Hassana Alia, managed to escape to Spain where he resides to date. The military court had sentenced Alia in absentia to life in prison.


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Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
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Stand up for the Gdeim Izik 25!


Leading activists from Western Sahara are condemned to sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment in connection to a mass protest in 2010 denouncing the Saharawi people’s social and economic marginalization in their occupied land; the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
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