Life sentences confirmed for political prisoners

The Moroccan Court of Cassation yesterday confirmed the harsh sentences rendered against the so-called Gdeim Izik prisoners. The group took part in the protest of socio-economic marginalisation in Western Sahara in 2010.
Published: 26.11 - 2020 18:17Printer version    
The Moroccan Court of Cassation yesterday, 25 November, announced its controversial decision in the kafkaesque legal case against the so-called Gdeim Izik prisoners. The group was imprisoned following the Gdeim Izik events in 2010.

In its decision, the Court of Cassation confirmed the verdict rendered by the Appeals court in 2017, thus upholding the sentences ranging from 20 years to life in prison on the basis of confessions signed under torture.

On 21 October, the court had unexpectedly announced that it accepted an appeal that the defence attorneys had submitted on behalf of the Gdeim Izik prisoners three years earlier, during the autumn of 2017. The sudden, out-of-the-blue acceptance of the case is believed to be linked to the start of demonstrations in the Guerguerat area by Saharawi civilians, blocking the trade route from Morocco to Mauritania.

The hearing of the case was held on 4 November. During the hearing, the defense lawyers argued for the annulment of the judgement due to the usage of confessions signed under torture as the main evidence against the accused. The court confirmed that the arguments of the Saharawi lawyers was comprehensive and that a decision would be rendered on 25 November 2020.

Saharawi news outlets and human rights defenders are convinced that the decision rendered by the Court of Cassation yesterday is linked to the recently resumed war between the Kingdom of Morocco and Polisario Front.

The Gdeim Izik prisoners are journalists, political activists, human rights defenders and members of the dialogue committee at the Gdeim Izik camp in 2010. The Gdeim Izik camp marked the start of the Arab Spring in the region and is told to have housed thousands of Saharawi protesters.

WSRW wrote earlier this year more extensively on the process and the prisoners.

The arbitrary detainment of the Gdeim Izik prisoners was, amongst other cases, treated in a communication issued by the United Nations Special Procedures on 20 July 2017 (AL Mar 3/2017), signed by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers and the Special Rapporteur on Torture. The text stresses that the group of Saharawi human rights defenders had been arrested and detained in response to their freedom of expression and freedom of assembly in the Gdeim Izik camp.


11.12 - 2020 / 11.12 - 2020Siemens partner part of Trump's occupation package
10.12 - 2020 / 10.12 - 2020Trump backs occupation, opens consulate in Western Sahara
07.12 - 2020 / 29.11 - 2020Russia signs fish deal with Morocco as war resumes in Western Sahara
03.12 - 2020 / 26.11 - 2020New report: The EU ignores its own court on conflict trade
26.11 - 2020 / 26.11 - 2020Life sentences confirmed for political prisoners
19.11 - 2020 / 19.11 - 2020Saharawi gov calls for halt of all activity in Western Sahara over war
18.11 - 2020 / 18.11 - 2020WSRW calls for suspension EU-Morocco fish deal
17.11 - 2020 / 03.11 - 2020EU Commission says Western Sahara not part of aviation agreement
16.11 - 2020 / 16.11 - 2020Protesters in New Zealand block entry to controversial factories  
13.11 - 2020 / 13.11 - 2020Morocco intervenes militarily to re-open its plunder corridor
13.11 - 2020 / 13.11 - 2020MEPs: EU should warn Enel and Siemens
06.11 - 2020 / 30.10 - 2020Swedish renewable company Azelio silent about Western Sahara
05.11 - 2020 / 05.11 - 2020DNV GL exits project in Western Sahara, will not return
02.11 - 2020 / 27.10 - 2020Siemens Gamesa with new large deal for occupied Western Sahara
31.10 - 2020 / 31.10 - 2020EU-Mauritanian fleet circumvents Saharawi roadblock
12.10 - 2020 / 12.10 - 2020Russian fisheries still absent from Western Sahara
07.10 - 2020 / 07.10 - 2020West African controversial fish imports resume
05.10 - 2020 / 02.10 - 2020No more Swedish supplies to the Bou Craa mine
08.09 - 2020 / 16.06 - 2020Soon 10 years of wrongful imprisonment: release Gdeim Izik group now
08.09 - 2020 / 07.09 - 2020DHL: ignoring Saharawi rights for 5 parcels a day


Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
EU Court cases on Western Sahara for dummies


It's not easy keeping up with all the different legal proceedings relating to Western Sahara. For the sake of clarity, here's an overview of the five different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Support Western Sahara Resource Watch


Help us to protect the natural resources of Western Sahara for the Saharawi people. Support our work by making a donation. News Archive 2020 News Archive 2019 News Archive 2018 News Archive 2017 News Archive 2016 News Archive 2015 News Archive 2014 News Archive 2013 News Archive 2012 News Archive 2011 News Archive 2010 News Archive 2009 News Archive 2008 News Archive 2007 News Archive 2004-2006

Register for our English newsletter:

These web pages have been built with the financial support of the trade union Industry Energy