Yesterday, eleven Sahrawi political prisoners appeared before the Court of Appeal in El-Ayoune. The Moroccan court issued heavy sentences against some of the prisoners, while the trial of others was postponed; only one was released. The proceeding witnessed a massive presence of Moroccan security services. Only a few family members of the prisoners were allowed to attend. Two Spanish foreign legal observers were able to attend the proceedings. (21-MAR-07)
This article, originally distributed by The Sahrawi Association of Victims of Grave Human Rights Violations Committed by the Moroccan State (ASVDH), but received by www.humanrightshouse.org from the Norwegian Support Commiittee for Western Sahara, has been edited for republication here by HRHF / Niels Jacob Harbitz. Photos: Overcrowding in the so-called Black prison, all to familiar to many Sahrawi political prisoners.
The Moroccan court committed many legal breaches during the hearing. For example, Sheikh ben Allal, Ghali Zougham, Bhaha Mohamed Salem, Mohamed Mouloud Elhajaj, Baida Abdessalam and Loumadi Abdessalam, were expulsed from the court with kicks and beating because they denounced the illegitimacy of the trial and emphasized the political nature of their arrests.
The sentences were as follows:
First file: Elwali Amidan and Bashri Ben Taleb: trial postponed to 17 April 2007. Second file: Etarozi Yahdih: trial postponed to 17 April 2007.
Third file: Elyazid Ben Ammar, Sheikh Ben Allal, Zougham Ghali: condemned to three years imprisonment
Fourth file: Bhaha Mohamed Salem, Mohamed Mouloud Elhajaj, Baida Abdessalam: condemned to three years imprisonment.
Fifth file: Abdessalam Loumadi : condemned to a year and a half of imprisonment
Sixth file: Banga Sheikh: condemned to five months imprisonment (the period he has already spent in custody therefore released).