Saharawis face torture and unfair trials in Moroccan justice system

“[Moroccan] Courts deprived defendants in political cases of the right to fair trials and in a number of cases ignored their requests for medical examinations following their allegations of torture and convicted defendants based on apparently coerced confessions,” Human Rights Watch wrote in their 2013 World Report that was released on Friday.

In the report, Human Rights Watch also stated that there were “credible reports” of police beatings and electric shocks in Moroccan prisons, that there were no effective safeguards against such torture, and that the perpetrators acted with impunity.

One recent example of such Moroccan mistreatment of its prisoners is the 24 Saharawi political prisoners who were arrested after Moroccan security forces violently raided the otherwise peaceful protest camp of Gdeim Izik in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara in November 2010.

According to a press release from Amnesty International issued on Friday, “the trial of 24 Sahrawi civilians before a military court in Morocco is flawed from the outset. Most of the defendants have said that they were tortured and otherwise ill-treated at different stages of their two-year pre-trial detention. Some are said to have been coerced into signing statements.”

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