The CODESA Secretariat

The Collective of Sahrawi Defenders of Human Rights

El Aaiun,Western Sahara.

July 03rd, 2007.

The delay of the Sahrawi students’ trial in Marrakech, Morocco to July 16th, 2007

On Monday, July 02nd, 2007, the Court of Appeal in Marrakech, Morocco delayed the trial of 08 political prisoners to July 16th, 2007.
The delay was in response to the desire of the defence lawyers. Six male Sahrawi students were brought from the local prison of Marrakech, apart from the only female Sultana Khaya whose eye was gouged out by the Moroccan police during the peaceful students demonstrations, and a Moroccan student Aziz Ait Youssef. Both of them were sentenced to a year-imprisonment suspended. The other six were convicted to a year-imprisonment in effect at the court of first instance of Marrakech.
This is the second time the students’ trial is postponed. The reason for this is that the defence had withdrawn from the court of first instance, protesting against the absence of a fair trial conditions, especially the openness of the trial. Thus, the students’ case was discussed while they were out of the scene. The court of first instance was completely surrounded by the police who had not allowed the political prisoners’ families and other Sahrawi citizens to attend the trial sessions.
It is worth-mentioning here that the Students’ case started on May 09th, 2007, when the Sahrawi students in Elqadi Aayad University (in Marrakech, Morocco) where they study, were organizing a solidarity sit-in with their comrades in Ibnou Zoher University (in Agadir, Morocco). The Agadir students were repressed by the Moroccan authorities because of their call for the Sahrawi people’s right to self-determination.
The Moroccan forces also repressed the Sahrawi students in Marrakech and arrested a number them, but released the majority after spending different periods in custody.
The following six are still detained:
Abdelfattah Lyadassia, Eddah Mbairik, Mohamed Elaafwi, Hassan Fatteh,Rachid Bennou, Mahmoud Lemquiti.
N.B. Sultana Khaya and Aziz Ait Youssef‘s verdict is suspended.