Cebrapaz rejects the conviction of Saharawi prisoners by Morocco and calls for the liberation of Western Sahara!

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The Brazilian Center for the Solidarity with the Peoples and Struggle for Peace (Cebrapaz) again expresses its strongest condemnation of the practices of the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara, which again led to the conviction of the “Gdeim Izik” activist group to harsh sentences in a criminal process widely denounced as violating the activists’ rights as a penalty for their engagement in the struggle for the liberation of their nation.

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For more than four decades under occupation by Morocco and still listed by the United Nations as a non self governing territory pending decolonization, the Western Sahara is the scene of grave violations of human rights constantly denounced by the Saharawis in their appeal to the world for the fulfillment of the promise of self-determination.

It was in this struggle that more than 20,000 Saharawis and individuals in solidarity with their just cause organized the peaceful protest camp of Gdeim Izik in 2010, but it was brutally repressed and dispersed by Moroccan forces. Hundreds of people were detained, but 25 of them were selected for a misdemeanor trial by a Military Court, in which several were given a life sentence in a process fraught with irregularities.

To seek to legitimize the sentences and the persecution against the Saharawi activists, the Moroccan authorities decided to annul that judgment and to carry out a new one in a civil court.

However, after years of deferment, denunciation of torture and other ill-treatment, unacceptable difficulties imposed on the defense of the accused and international observers, among other violations of due process, the sentences announced on Wednesday (19th of September) by the Moroccan civil court are similar to those imposed by the military court, with sentences between 20 years and life imprisonment!

Cebrapaz joins the numerous manifestations of repudiation of the extremely serious and widespread violations of the human rights of the Saharawi people under the military occupation of the Kingdom of Morocco, violations that are only possible in their daily form due to indefinite postponement of the referendum on self-determination promised yet in 1991 by the United Nations.

We demand the liberation of the Saharawi political prisoners  and the end of the false trials conducted by the Moroccan occupation, now!

Free Western Sahara!

Antônio Barreto
President of Cebrapaz