Since 2012, our partners Adala UK have been reporting on the unfair trials of Saharawis, detained for exercising their freedom of expression with regard their right to self-determination. The list of human rights abuses in relation to unfair trials and imprisonment is a long one for the Saharawis living under Moroccan occupation:
- trials in military courts;
- the use of confessions extracted through torture;
- disproportionate sentencing;
- trials where legal representation has been denied;
- detention and incarceration in prisons in Morocco;
- maltreatment and torture during incarceration including the denial of medical treatment.
The case of the Gdeim Izik Group has brought the situation more media attention over the last few years, yet the sentences handed down to these activists were totally unfair and totally disproportionate for the crimes of which they are accused. The group’s trials were delayed several times to prevent the presence of international observers.
Now, one of the group has died following the injuries he received from torture whilst in prison. Mohamed Al-Ayoubi died on 21 February 2018. He had previously described his torture, which included beatings, sleep-deprivation, and cigarette burns on his body. He was also sexually abused with sticks and choked with sponges soaked in urine. Mohamed suffered from various conditions related to the torture he experienced during his detention, including diabetes, kidney failure and hepatitis. He received regular treatment for these and recently had to have two toes amputated. In addition, his shoulder, which was broken during torture, was permanently dislocated.
The question: Why does Morocco get away with these actions?
The answer: There’s no independent human rights monitoring
The solution: A human rights monitoring mandate for MINURSO
And here’s what you can do: write to members of the Security Council to urge them to include a human rights monitoring mandate in the renewal of MINURSO in April 2018.