Adala UK is extremely concerned about the harsh sentences which Moroccan courts continue to pass on Saharawi citizens, restricting their fundamental right to freedom of expression and effectively silencing those who openly defend the Saharawi people’s right to self-determination.
The most recent example is the trial of political activist Embarek Edaudi, who was detained in September 2013 for expressing his political views in favour of self-determination. The official crime he is accused of is ‘possession of ammunition without license’ as well as ‘attempts to produce weapons’. Edaudi has continuously denied these allegations and has stated that he has been tortured by police officers in detention. These complaints have so far been ignored by the court which has permitted his ‘confessions’, which were obtained under torture, as evidence.
Edaudi is a former soldier who served in the Moroccan army. He was initially going to be tried by the military court in Rabat and spent the first two years and three months in a military prison before the decision was made to try him in a civilian court. He subsequently spent several months in the Moroccan prisons of Gleimim, Ait Melul and Salé.
On Monday of last week, the Agadir Court of Appeal upheld the five-year prison sentence he had received on 3rd December 2015. This was the second time Edaudi appeared before the appeal court. His first appeal on 25 January 2016 was postponed because Edaudi was chanting slogans for a ‘Free Sahara’ as he entered the court room, which lead the judge to cancel the proceedings.