By Chaimaa Zahaar
By Chaimaa Zahaar
Rabat – The criminal division of the Court of Appeals in Rabat-Salé continued the Gdim Izik trial until Monday, June 12th, announced Hassan Daki, the Crown Prosecutor, on Thursday.
In a statement to the press following the hearing of the prosecution’s pleas on behalf of what is known as “la partie civile” — which includes the victims, victims’ families and other interested stakeholders accusing the defendants, Daki asserted that eight lawyers, one of whom Spanish, had opined that the defense counsel’s arguments alleging the court’s lack of jurisdiction and the defendants’ claims regarding torture have no legal basis.
According to Daki, counsel for the civil parties considered the refusal of the defendants to appear in the courtroom a sign of their “contempt” towards the families of the victims to whom Moroccan law and international treaties and conventions guarantee the right to be heard in court. The counsel suggested, he added, that the defendants had refused to appear in court to “give a political dimension” to their crimes, and to reject the progress made in the Moroccan judicial system that has allowed them to be re-tried before a civil court instead of a court of military justice.
The Crown Prosecutor also asserted that the civil parties pleas addressed the prosecution exhibits submitted to the court, the content of the video, and the report of the intercepted telephone calls, said the Crown Prosecutor, which he argued prove the complicity of the accused with foreign parties in a criminal plan that culminated in the tragic events at the Gdim Izik camp.
He also stated that when the defendants refused to appear in the courtroom, at the direction of the Court, the court clerk went to the holding cells in which the accused are being held during the proceeding to read them the minutes of the proceedings. When the clerk began reading, however, the accused interrupted him “as usual” according to Daki, chanting slogans. Daki added that the clerk also went to the prison to inform the other detainees of the status of the proceedings.
The Crown Prosecutor noted that all but four of the defendants were brought back into court on Thursday. Three of the four presented medical certificates issued by the prison doctor excusing them, while the fourth was taking his baccalaureate exam.
The two defendants who are at liberty also appeared before the Court, as well as the legal aid lawyers appointed by the court to represent the defendants, and counsel for the civil parties Although the defendants currently under arrest refused to appear in the courtroom, the Court continued the trial in their absence, in accordance with the provisions of Article 423 of the Criminal Code, and said the court clerk would inform them of the course of the proceedings at the end of the hearing.
In the Gdim Izik trial, 25 people are being prosecuted for alleged crimes relating to the tragic events that took place on Nov. 8, 2010 in the village of Gdim Izik, during which 13 individuals were murdered, including 11 police officers and one firefighter, as Moroccan security forces dismantled a camp in which people had been living in protest of unemployment and lack of opportunities in the city of Laayoune. Seventy people were injured in total and public property was destroyed.