Naama Asfari appeal postponed till after liberation
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The appeal trial of Naama Asfari was supposed to take place Monday. Court accepted to postpone the appeal trial until 16th of June -two days after Asfari's 2 months prison term ends. A team of European lawyers and observers was present for the trial. 

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Published 02 June 2008

The Sahrawi human rights defender, co-chairman of CORELSO (Committee for the respect of liberties and human rights in Western Sahara), Mr. Ennaama ASFARI, was in April sentenced to two months of prison by a Moroccan court.

The appeal against Asfari was supposed to take place Monday 2nd of June, but was postponed till the 16th of June, 2 days after his prison sentence is set to end. The postponement was granted after request from the defence team.

One of Asfari's lawyers, French Augustin Kemadjou, said it would be easier for Asfari to win an appeal after his liberation. The lawyers therefore decided to not proceed with the appeal as planned.

"There was a very high tension in the court room Monday, so we felt it could be too risky to go through with the appeal", Kemadjou said. 

Hear interview with Kemadjou (in French).

He underlined that loosing an appeal in a case like this, could mean an additional prison term to up to one year for Asfari.

"That would be an unneccessesary risk to take such a short time he is to be released. Instead, doing the appeal after the prison term has finished, at a time when the court room might be calmer, it would be more probable to win the appeal", Kemadjou said.

Most importantly, however, loosing an appeal after the term has been fully served, means he does not risk having the prison term prolonged, Kemadjou underlined.

Good chances of winning
The defence believes that the chances of winning an appeal on June 16th remains high. 

The judgment against Asfari in April was rather controversial. 

  • Asfari was offered no lawyer when arrested in April, and there are no proofs of him doing anything wrong
  • Asfari's family was not informed about the arrest. 
  • Asfari was beaten badly by the police under interrogation, and no medical reports exist. He wore signs of torture, but no investigations of torture allegations were carried out. 

Amnesty International has called on Moroccan authorities to investigate the torture claims. 

A number of foreign lawyers and observers were present during the procedure in Marrakech Monday. Among them were Matilde Parejo Bueno, Jose Manuel de la Fuente; Cristina Navarro Poblet, José García Lesnan, Fransensco Javier Cangoz. 

Also former Rafto Award Laureate, Sidi Mohammed Daddach, was present at the court. 

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