London, Feb 22, 2013 (SPS) - The well-known British daily newspaper “Guardian” published Thursday a petition signed by a group of international figures, in which they condemned the martial trial of Gdeim izik detainees and demand the establishment of UN mechanism to monitor and protect human rights in Western Sahara.
“The sentencing of 24 Saharawi activists by a Moroccan military tribunal last weekend is a travesty of justice. The defendants, most of whom received sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment, were involved in setting-up the Gdeim Izik protest camp in Western Sahara in 2010, widely regarded as the first spark of the Arab spring,” stated the petition.
It highlighted that “Amnesty International has described their trial as flawed from the outset, in violation of international standards for fair trials. While in detention, the defendants claim to have been coerced into signing confessions,” adding that any trial of the defendants, many of whom are prominent human rights activists, should have been in a civilian court.
The signers on the petition said that this appears to have been a politically motivated show trial.
“We urge the international community to speak out against these sentences and support our call for independent human rights monitoring in Western Sahara,” said the petition.
Among those who signed the petition:
Mr. Jeremy Corbyn Chair, all Party Parliamentary Group on Western Sahara
Mr. Carne Ross, Director and Independent Diplomat
Mr. John Gurr, Co-ordinator for Western Sahara Campaign UK
Mr. John Hilary, Executive director, War on Want
Mr. Don Pepper, Chair, Strategic Conflict Resolution Group
Mr. Erik Hagen, Chair, Western Sahara Resource Watch
Ms. Danielle Smith, Founding director, Sandblast
In addition to other intellectuals, politicians, members of human rights organizations and associations as well as jurists. (SPS)