The trial of the 24 defendants indicted on murder charge in the deadly violence occurred in Gdeim Izik near the city of Laayoune resumes this Friday before a military court in Rabat. The wrongdoers incur heavy penalties for the killing of 11 members of the Moroccan security forces. The case dates back to November 2010 when security forces proceeded to the evacuation of a tent camp that had been erected by residents of Laayoune to demand housing and jobs. The camp had been set up a month earlier and negotiations were underway with the authorities to find solutions to the inhabitants’ grievances. Meanwhile, activists close to the Polisario, an Algeria-backed front claiming the independence of Western Sahara, had gradually taken control of the camp. Armed with cutlasses and incendiary devices, they took the protesters as hostages and transformed the premises into an armed camp. When the unarmed law enforcement agents intervened to dismantle the camp, they were caught up in a trap. Most of them were aged between 20 and 24 and had been assigned to monitoring and law enforcement tasks in the camp surrounding area. Ten of them, besides a civil protection officer, will lose their life in the operation.
The victims were horribly mutilated and slaughtered. Their relatives and many international observers found it very hard to watch the video images displayed during the first session of the trial last Friday (February 1) in view of the violence shown on these images. Ahmed Tartour, president of the Coordination of the victims’ families and friends (COFAV) detailed before the media the pain and grief of the bereaved families. killing members of the security forces in the course of the performance of their official duties and desecration of a corpse fall under the Moroccan Code of Military Justice. Article 3 of the Code provides for the possibility of bringing civilians before the military court if they are indicted in the killing of soldiers or other military personnel.