Gdeim Izik: Morocco Condemns NGOs’ False, Spurious Allegations


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Rabat – Ten years after the events of the Gdeim Izik camp in the southern city of Laayoune, Morocco’s public authorities continue to condemn some civil society actors’ attempts to influence the work of the Moroccan justice system through media influence.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International issued reports on November 5 and 8, respectively, “reviewing” the case.

The Interministerial Delegation for Human Rights (DIDH) voiced Moroccan public authorities’ response in a press release on Friday, cited by Morocco’s state media.

DIDH reported that public authorities denounce the reports, considering them as unfounded accusations. Moroccan authorities also urge the NGOs to “respect the values of integrity and neutrality.”

The reports from the NGOs mention allegations of torture and lengthy trial proceedings, among other potential human rights violations. 

In 2010, Polisario elements murdered a group of 11 Moroccan security officers during clashes with Sahrawi protesters.

Moroccan security forces intervened to dismantle the Gdeim Izik camp in Laayoune, which residents had built to protest high levels of unemployment in the southern province.

The delegation recalled that the judiciary is prosecuting the individuals in accordance with the law, based on accusations of “barbaric and dreadful” acts against members of the Moroccan Civil Protection. 

Morocco’s public authorities stressed the trial’s fairness, pointing out that it respects international standards. They also added that the Moroccan court responded to the defendants’ requests during the appeal phase and granted them medical support in accordance with international law.

Refuting allegations of human rights violations

The two NGOs claimed that Moroccan courts have a record of relying on forced confessions for verdicts.They said that the defendants made claims of police torture.

Following the defendents’ claims of torture in Morocco, the court offered eight hearings, where each of the accused spoke for an average of three hours, DIDH said.

The judiciary has also charged these individuals with mutilating the corpses of Moroccan Civil Security officers, recalled the delegation.

In October, French NGO Association for the Promotion of Fundamental Freedoms (APLF) published a report about the Gdeim Izik trial at the civilian court of Sale, held from December 26, 2016 to July 18, 2017. According to APLF, the conditions of the legal proceedings during the trial were “fair.”

In addition to recalling the fairness of the trial, DIDH affirmed that the incarceration of the accused followed “well-recognized criteria,” such as respecting the question of proximity to their families and in regards to the duration of the sentence.

Human rights in Morocco’s southern provinces

As well as condemning the NGOS’ allegations on the Gdeim Izik case, DIDH also mentioned the organizations’ assessment of the state of human rights in Morocco’s southern provinces. It said the NGOs’reports were “political and biased.”

Public authorities say that such allegations of Morocco’s grim record on human rights aim to camouflage Polisario’s criminal acts of 2010 by linking the trials to the exercise of human rights in Western Sahara, DIDH added.

The statement stressed Morocco’s commitment to the exercise of human rights in the southern provinces. 

DIDH also recalled the UN Security Council’s Resolution 2548 on Western Sahara, noting that it contradicts the organizations’ claims. The resolution “welcomes Morocco’s efforts to consolidate human rights” in the region. 

These efforts occur in particular via the regional commissions of the National Human Rights Council (CNDH) in Dakhla and Laayoune and the “positive interaction of Morocco with the special procedures mechanism of the CNDH.”

DIDH’s statement concluded that Morocco’s territorial integrity “cannot be the subject of any negotiation, blackmail, or political exploitation of the issue of human rights.”