Rabat - International lawyers and other observers who attended the Gdim Izik trial this past week say that the trial is being conducted fairly as judged by international legal standards.
Rabat – International lawyers and other observers who attended the Gdim Izik trial this past week say that the trial is being conducted fairly as judged by international legal standards.
In an article published Thursday on the website of the Brussels-based group “Almouwatin” (The citizen), Pierre Legros, Emmanuel Carlier, and Sophie Michez, Belgian attorneys from Brussels who are serving as international observers for the trial, disagreed with claims that the trial is being conducted unfairly.
As international observers, they said, “We are dismayed by what was written in certain media outlets — a minority, far-left and close to Algerian positions — claiming that the hearings in the Gdim Izik case do not respect international standards of fairness, respect for the rights of defendants, the right to be assisted by a lawyer, respect for the principle that both parties should be heard. The group rejected the suggestion that the trial is being “guided solely by political considerations, excluding all legal considerations.”
They stressed that such allegations ignore the fact that the defendants are being prosecuted for crimes such as organizing a criminal gang which carried out violence against security forces leading to the death of eleven people, desecration of dead bodies, and burning of public property.
In their article, entitled “Media manipulation! The Gdim Izik trial is not a farce”, they wrote that that the victims of these crimes have legal rights and are entitled to become civil parties in order to be compensated, though they added that this compensation would not be able to replace the loss of a loved one.
They underlined that the President of the Salé Court of Appeal has made every effort to ensure that the truth emerge, while recognizing that the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty and guaranteeing the exercise of the rights of the defense.
They also emphasized that the three French lawyers who are defending some of the defendants have so far made several unfounded requests, including the right to plead the case directly in French [Moroccan law requires that trials be conducted in Arabic]. The international observers opined that court’s rejection of such requests cannot be interpreted to undermine the accused’s right of self-defense.
The observers harshly criticized the efforts of one of the other defense lawyers to create the perception of an unfair trial, who argued that he felt “humiliated” because (like everyone else entering the court house) he had been asked to deposit his cell phone and be scanned by a metal detector. The observers said that the defense lawyers had made overstatements and had gone so far even as to lie to achieve their ends.
Finally, the observers rejected claims of the defense lawyers that the trial is being driven by politics. Rather, they said, the lawyers themselves were urging their clients to begin and end each hearing with political slogans.