Rabat - The Coordination of Relatives of the Victims of the Gdeim Izik incident addressed a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General on Tuesday, expressing concerns over the link Guterres that drew between the Gdeim Izik incident and Western Sahara conflict in his annual report on the Western Sahara.
Rabat – The Coordination of Relatives of the Victims of the Gdeim Izik incident addressed a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General on Tuesday, expressing concerns over the link Guterres that drew between the Gdeim Izik incident and Western Sahara conflict in his annual report on the Western Sahara.
The 2010 incident occurred on the outskirts of Laayoune, when a group of Moroccan security forces were killed by Polisario members while dismantling the Gdeim Izik camp, where people had been living in protest of the unemployment and lack of opportunities in the city of Laayoune.
In addition to eleven deaths, over 70 people were injured.
In his latest report on the Western Sahara situation, Guterres said in paragraph 16 that the separatist group Polisario wrote 16 letters, deploring the “illegal detention of the co-defendants in the Gdeim Izik case and the death of one Gdeim Izik prisoners.”
“We deem that this paragraph of the report lacked balance, was in favour of one party to the detriment of the other, which deprived it, in our opinion, of the credibility and honesty that should guide the UN’s dealing with the various conflicts and issues,” reads the letter, which was quoted by Maghreb Arab Press.
The President of Coordination, Ahmed Atartour, said of the incident, “this description calls into question the neutrality of the report, since this is a political description that the Secretary General should not have adopted or used.”
The letter further criticizes the report for calling the perpetrators of the crimes “activists,” emphasizing that the “activist” term is in no way compatible with their “legal status in the case since they were sentenced to criminal acts.”
The Coordination has also criticized the report for ignoring the victims of the camp Gdeim Izik.
“These are our sons whom the said criminals killed and urinated on in a flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter and the various international human rights instruments. Our sons have suffered these barbaric acts as they tried to dismantle the camp in a peaceful way under the law,” reads the letter.
The coordination has recently urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to forward the letter to Guterres via the Moroccan representatives to the UN in New York.
On July 29, 2017, Sale’s Court of Appeal handed verdicts ranging from two years to life imprisonment against 23 suspects involved in the Gdeim Izik incident.
Charges included “forming criminal gangs and violence against public forces that led to their death with premeditation, the mutilation of corpses, and complicity.”
Last December an additional suspect, Mohamed El Ayoubi, was sentenced in abstentia to 20 years without bail, as a health condition prevented him from attending court.
Widely hailed as “fair” by international organizations, defendants were fully informed of th accusations of serious crimes of intentional violence, which caused deaths, injuries, and serious material damage against them throughout the 2017 trial, according to the Leadership Council for Human Rights.
The defendants were first charged by the Moroccan military court in 2013, with sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment. However, following Morocco’s military justice system reform in July 2015, the judiciary decided to summon the defendants for an additional civil court case.