Salé - The Criminal Chamber at the annexe of Salé Appeal court began, on Monday morning, hearing the case of the 25 accused in the tragic events, which accompanied the dismantling of the "Gdim Izik" camp in the city of Laayoune, in November 2010.
Salé – The Criminal Chamber at the annexe of Salé Appeal court began, on Monday morning, hearing the case of the 25 accused in the tragic events, which accompanied the dismantling of the “Gdim Izik” camp in the city of Laayoune, in November 2010.
The first session of the trial witnessed a significant presence of the families of the victims of these events, which claimed the lives of 11 members of the security forces and left 70 wounded.
Several human rights associations, NGOs and independent national and international organizations observe the trial.
It takes place after the decision of the Court of Cassation to quash the verdict pronounced against the defendants by the Military Court in 2013.
On February 17, 2013, the Military Court of Rabat handed down prison sentences ranging from life imprisonment to 30 years against the 25 individuals involved in this case, including one in absentia, sued for “forming criminal gang”, “violence against the public forces which led to the death with premeditation and complicity.”
The defense of families of victims of the Gdim Izik tragic events voiced their disappointment with the “false allegations” included in the statement issued last Thursday by the so-called “Coalition of International Lawyers in Support of Gdim Izik Activists”.
In an open letter to defenders of justice, the defense lawyers expressed their deep regret at the “false allegations” included in that statement, which sums up the defendants’ trial in “their participation in social demonstrations and ignores the serious criminal acts they committed and for which the court should render its decision in accordance with law”.
On October 10th 2010, residents of the city of Laayoune erected a tented camp in the Gdim Izik region to defend legitimate social demands, mainly linked to housing and employment.
According to a local source, Moroccan authorities initiated a dialogue and presented a series of measures to gradually meet these demands. This initiative had not resolved the situation on the ground.
Moroccan authorities then decided to peacefully dismantle the camp in order to enforce compliance with the law and preserve public order.
This intervention had given rise to violent attacks by small groups against the security forces with knives, stones and Molotov cocktails. Thereafter, clashes erupted in the city of Laayoune where infrastructure and public property had been set on fire and private property sacked.
The attacks claimed the lives of 11 people among the security forces, including one element from the emergency services, and hurt 70 among the same forces, including several seriously and four among civilians.