The Court proceedings were supposed to commence on 26 December 2016, but were postponed to 23 January 2017. Two reasons were cited for the postponement; first, the fact that one defendant was missing - Mohamed El Ayoubi, who had been sentenced to 20 years but is under provisional release due to his debilitated health condition; second, the judge claimed that the international lawyers of the Gdeim Izik group did not have sufficient knowledge of the Moroccan legal system. The Court furthermore ruled that none of the accused were to be granted provisional release during the trial. For further information on Day 1 of the re-trial, see here.
Day 2, 23 January 2017
The Court ruled that proceedings could commence, in spite of the absence of Mohamed El Ayoubi. El Ayoubi was said to be in hospital, and to have been informed about the hearing by a distant relative - which the defense did not consider sufficient, as El Ayoubi has the right to be duly informed. The Court ruled that the trial would commence, and that the case of El Ayoubi would be conducted separated from the rest of the group on 13 March 2017. The defense asked for more time to prepare; they had not been given the chance to meet their clients, despite numerous requests. Nor had they had access to all the case documents. At 5pm, the defense was given 24 hours to prepare, though the trial was supposed to take off at 10am the next day. The defendants were ordered to follow the proceedings from within a glass cage, which hampered their ability to follow their own trial and communicate with their lawyers. The entire group was given , in total, only 3 pens and 3 pieces of paper to take notes. For more information about Day 2 of the re-trial, see here.
Day 3, 24 January 2017
The defense started proceedings by asking to postpone the hearing until 5pm, in order to have had the accorded 24 hours to prepare. The request was denied. One defendant, Enaama Asfari, asked that all prisoners be given pen and paper so that they could adequately follow the proceedings. The request was denied. For the rest of the day, the proceedings focused on the question whether the civil party was to be given partial status. The attorneys advocating on behalf of the victims argued that the victims had the right to face the defendants. The defense argued that the victims were defended via the public office. For more information about Day 3 of the re-trial, see here.
Day 4, 25 January 2017
The defense continued the proceedings on procedural matters, including (1) the jurisdiction of the court, (2) documentation regarding arrest and custody, (3) medical examination to prove the use of torture and (4) witnesses. On (1), Consternation erupted after the defense brought forward the fourth Geneva Convention, resulting in the civil party screaming that Morocco has supremacy over Western Sahara. The judge claimed that international conventions were no instruments in his Court. The Court ruled that the Tribunal de Première Instance in Salé was competent. On (2) the defense argued that the documents relating to the arrest and custody could not be used as they were extracted under torture. The prosecution argued no torture had ever taken place. Regarding (3), the court ruled that the prisoners were to be given medical (physical and mental) examinations. On (4), the court ruled that the defense could present all witnesses, excluding the Moroccan authorities and ex-Ministers that had been in negotiations with the Gdeim Izik dialogue committee. So police and gendarmerie officers who drafted the documents relating to the arrests and custody, were convened. The discussion as to whether the civil party (the lawyers advocating on behalf of the victims) should be granted partial status, is postponed. The court did not grant provisional release. More info about Day 4 of the re-trial, see here.
Day 5, 13 March 2017
The defense started the proceedings in asking for more time, as the medical reports on the defendants were not yet presented. The judge rules to continue without the reports. The procedure continued with lodging the evidence in the case. A CD, which was not part of the list of evidence submitted to the defense, was portrayed in the court: it was a video depicting the Gdeim Izik camp as a violent resistant camp as opposed to a peaceful protest camp. Though shown, the video was not yet admitted into evidence. Mohamed El Ayoubi, who was hospitalised during previous rounds, was present in the courtroom. His case was admitted to the group's case. He was the first of the group to be questioned. Read an account of his testimony here. The court then proceeded to interrogate Mohamed Bani. Read an account of his testimony here. More info about Day 5 of the re-trial can be found here.
For a third day in a row, the court interrogated the Gdeim Izik Group. The day started with the questioning of Larabi El Bakay. Read an account of his testimony here. The defense protested after the interrogation since El Bakay had been placed on a chair with a name tag that stated “terrorist” on the back, whilst the interrogation was broadcasted on national television. Next to be questioned was Mohamed Lamin Haddi - read an account of his testimony here. Last of the day was Sidi Abderahman Zeyou, who had been sentenced by the military tribunal to time served. Read an account of Zeyou's testimony here.
Day 8, 20 March 2017
The day's proceedings commenced with the testimony of El Houssin Ezzaoui, an account of which can be read here. The second to be questioned was Sidi Abdallah B'hah, whose testimony can be read here. The third to testify on the 8th day of the trial was Mohamed Bourial. An account of his testimony is available here. The last testimony of the day is that of Brahim Ismaili. An account can be read here.
On the tenth day of the re-trial, Hassan Dah, Abdallahi Lakfawni and Mohamed Embarek Lefkir were heard by the court. Interruptions and humiliating questions were frequent. Read the accounts of the testimonies of Hassan Dah, Abdallahi Lakfawni and Mohamed Embarek Lefkir.
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