The defence started the proceedings. The defence claimed that they had not been given sufficient time to prepare their defence, where they had asked for and had been given 24 hours. The defence therefore argued that the proceedings should be postponed until 5:00 pm.
The president claimed that the defence should be satisfied with his ruling, as he had ruled in their favour, and had given them extra time.
Eênama Asfari then requested that he was to be given his pen and paper back, which were taken away from him the prior day. He shouted “the pen is my weapon”. The president repeated his ruling, and declared that Eênama should be given his pen, and three pieces of paper. Eênama refused to receive the pen and paper, since his request concerned all the prisoners, and not just himself. He declared that all the prisoners are entitled to pen and papers so they could follow the proceedings adequately. Thus, none of the prisoners were given pens or papers.
The next question that was raised was whether the civil party was to be given a partial status in the proceedings. It was highlighted due to the fact that the civil party was given the case papers, without being a formal part of the proceedings.
The attorneys advocating on behalf of the victims argued for their case for approximately three hours, without interruption. They claimed that article 14 of the ICCPR also entails a fair trial for the victims, meaning that the victims are entitled to defend their rights in a criminal case. The victims were thus entitled to face the culprits. The civil party further argued that because the Kingdom of Morocco was superior and had the necessary jurisdiction, Morocco was entitled to judge their equals.
The defence argued that the victims were defended via the public office. Thus, the prosecution as a public office should protect the common interest, whereas the civil and the criminal case should be separated. The defence argued that the victims’ right for compensation is first and foremost relevant after the accused are proved guilty. The defence were interrupted numerous times, i.e. they were not able to speak as freely as both the prosecution and the civil party. It should be noted that the defence attorneys advocating on behalf of the accused consisted of several Saharawi lawyers and three French lawyers. The judge talked in a condescending manner to the Saharawi lawyers, and made jokes in the middle of the proceedings. The defence was throughout the trial prohibited from talking about the protest camp Gdeim Izik or the political background.
Since 1975, three quarters of the territory of Western Sahara has been occupied by Morocco. A majority of the population is still living in refugee camps in Algeria. Those who remained in their homeland are subjected to serious harassment from the Moroccan occupiers. For more than 40 years the Sahrawis have been waiting for the fullfilment of their legitimate right to self-determination.
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