Gdeim Izik: the procedure followed has provided all the guarantees of a fair trial

The procedure followed in the case of Gdeim Izik has provided all the guarantees of a fair trial, in particular article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, French observers of the Paris-based Association for the Promotion of Fundamental Freedoms (APLF) said Thursday.

In their report on the conditions of the trial presented at a meeting held at the Senate, these observers noted the determination of the Criminal Chamber at Salé’s Court of Appeal, its president, the Public Prosecutor's Office and representatives of the parties to respect the principles and the rules of a fair trial.

These observers, who attended all the hearings at the Criminal Chamber, said that this was an out-of-the-ordinary trial with regards to the circumstances that triggered the prosecution, noting that the equanimity of the magistrates and the high sense of their mission have made this procedure a fair trial.

At the end of the trial, these observers have found that the conditions for a fair trial had been met during a difficult procedure marked by numerous incidents.

They also pointed out that the President of the Criminal Chamber asked the questions alone after consulting with his colleagues, noting that he showed neutrality and benevolence towards the accused.

The defendants' lawyers spoke out freely and some of them tried to provoke incidents at the hearings, said the report, noting that the defendants were regularly informed about the developments of the trial, in accordance with the provisions of the Moroccan Code of Criminal Procedure.

Observers pointed out that some of the accused who are familiar with Arabic have been assisted by interpreters, at their request or on a proposal from the Court, to enable them to fully understand the charges, the questions asked by the Court and to avoid being disadvantaged.

The report also recalls that at the beginning of the proceedings, the Defence requested a medical expertise to investigate any alleged torture of violence at the time of their arrest in 2010, adding that the Court agreed to this request and the expertise was carried out by three professors of the Avicennes hospital in Rabat.

Speaking at the meeting, APLF President, Michel de Guillenchmidt, who was part of the Association's observer delegation, said the trial was conducted with "courage, determination and independence.”

He also said that foreign observers were pleased to be able to attend the trial.

For his part, Mathieu Cardon, APLF Secretary-General, said that the members of the Association attended a fair trial, underlining “the independence and impartiality” of the Court.

The APLF observer delegation, which included lawyers, magistrates, academics and experts, attended all the hearings of the trial.

The suspects were tried for the first time before a military court in Feb. 2013 but following the Moroccan military judiciary reform (July 2015) and under which civilians could no longer stand trials in military courts, the cassation court decided to refer this case to a civil court for suspects' re-trial.

The Criminal Chamber of Salé’s Appeal Court gave verdicts ranging from two years to life sentence against the accused in the events related to the dismantling of the Gdeim Izik camp.

The Gdeim Izik events left 11 killed and 70 wounded among the security forces, as well as 4 injured among civilians.


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