MEPs call for "urgent" investigation into situation of Gdeim Izik group prisoners

Brussels, 25 June 2017 (SPS) - The Intergroup on Western Sahara in the European Parliament on Saturday called on the UN Human Rights Council to conduct an "urgent" investigation into the situation of the Saharawi political prisoners of the "Gdeim Izik" group, denouncing the "dramatic" situation of human rights in the occupied territories of Western Sahara.

"We call on the UN Human Rights Council to conduct an urgent investigation into the situation of the prisoners of Gdeim Izik", said the intergroup in a statement issued after the deferral, once again, of the appeal proceedings of these prisoners.

"Once again, we denounce the dramatic human rights situation in the occupied territories of Western Sahara," it said in its statement, recalling the inalienable right of the Saharawi people to self-determination, a right Which must be exercised, according to the intergroup, through a referendum in accordance with international law and UN resolutions.

Reaffirming the right of the Saharawi militants of "Gdeim Izik" to "a fair trial", the intergroup on Western Sahara condemned "strongly" the violation of international law in this "politically motivated" trial.

The intergroup also called for the "immediate" provisional release of the Saharawi prisoners, calling for an investigation into all allegations of torture to identify their perpetrators who "must be held responsible."

"We urge the European Union (EU) and its member states to raise the issue of the fate of the prisoners of Gdeim Izik with the Moroccan authorities at the highest level, to go to meet the prisoners and to monitor the court proceedings, in accordance with the commitments of the EU on human rights", pleaded the Intergroup.

The President of the Intergroup, Swedish MEP Jytte Guteland, reiterated the appeal of NGO Amnesty International to a "fair and equitable" trial for the Saharawi prisoners, stressing the need to investigate human rights violations, which according to the reports of international observers are "worrying".

Calling the trial of the prisoners of Gdeim Izik a "farce", MEP Fabio Massimo Castaldo said that the procedure followed by the Moroccan authorities "is not in line with the fundamental principles on the right to a fair trial as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ". (SPS)