Sid'Ahmed Lemsiyed, president of CSPRON (Committee for the protection of the natural resources of Western Sahara) was arrested on 25 December 2010, the year when the mass peaceful protest camp had been held in Gdeim Izik from early October until it was dismantled by Moroccan authorities on 8 November. He has been imprisoned with others arrested at that time, known now as the Gdeim Izik group of prisoners in Salé prison, near Rabat in Morocco. They are facing trial in a military court on 24 October. Sign petition for justice for Sidahmed and his fellow detainees here.
The petition asks the Moroccan Minister for Justice to release the 22 Gdeim Izik human rights defenders in the absence of a fair and transparent trial.
To be sure, the plunder of the natural resources of Western Sahara was one of the themes in the protest in 2010, in which Saharawis complained of having become second-class citizens in their own country, while its natural riches were being shipped out to the benefit of the occupying power, Morocco. But we do not know why such a protest is regarded by the Moroccans as a crime worthy of a military court.
Indeed the military trial is unjust because all the accused are civilians. Secondly, it is not being held in Western Sahara and thirdly because of the delay in bringing their cases to court. Detaining anyone longer than a year without charge and without trial is illegal under Moroccan law.
Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
It's not easy keeping up with all the different legal proceedings relating to Western Sahara. For the sake of clarity, here's an overview of the five different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Leading activists from Western Sahara are condemned to sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment in connection to a mass protest in 2010 denouncing the Saharawi peoples social and economic marginalization in their occupied land; the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
At COP22, beware of what you read about Moroccos renewable energy efforts. An increasing part of the projects take place in the occupied territory of Western Sahara and is used for mineral plunder, new WSRW report documents.