Spanish justice finally decided to put an end to the impunity enjoyed by torturers of the Polisario Front since the Sahrawi separatist movement has been created by the Algerian and Libyan regimes in the early 70s.
Two top leaders of the Polisario, Brahim Ghali, former defense minister and current representative of the front in Algiers, and Mahjoub Lincoln, security services officer and Polisario representative in Spain, are accused of genocide, torture and crimes against humanity against Sahrawi dissidents and people forcibly detained in the Tindouf camps in south-western Algeria.
Following a complaint filed in December 2007 against Polisario leaders and officers of the Algerian army and security services, the case is now in the hands of renowned judge Pablo Rafael Ruz Gutierrez of the National Court. This highest Spanish criminal court has universal jurisdiction to try crimes against humanity.
Judge Gutierrez was to interview this Monday in Madrid two alleged victims of these abuses. Their torturers Ibrahim Ghali and Mahjoub Lincoln are to be heard in this unprecedented trial on Friday, August 16.
However, if Lincoln’s appearance is probable since he is settled in Spain, the victims are rather skeptical about Ibrahim Ghali’s appearance.
In any case, they are both summoned to appear before judge Gutierrez who had recently asked the Spanish police to locate the persons mentioned in the complaint and to hand them the summons.
In addition to the two victims appearing before the court, two other witnesses for the prosecution will be called to testify. These are human rights activist Saadani Maalainine and the president of the Association of missing persons at the hands of the Polisario, Dahi Aguai.
Besides Ibrahim Ghali and Mahjoub Lincoln, 27 other defendants, including Sid Ahmed Batal, Bachir Mustapha Sayed and Khalil Sidi Mhamed, SADR ministers of information, education and settlement are also in the dock.
The current representative of the separatists in Spain, Jandoud Mohamed and Mohamed Khaddad, coordinator with the MINURSO and former director general of military security, will also be heard by the Spanish court for crimes against the Tindouf camps populations.
The victims, supported by the Madrid-based Sahrawi Association for the Defense of Human Rights (Asadeh), deem the trial in itself as a first victory over the Polisario torturers heralding the end of the impunity prevailing in the Rabouni camp.