RABAT: A Moroccan military court yesterday rejected demands to grant a civilian trial to 24 Sahrawis accused of killing members of the security forces in the Western Sahara, judicial sources said.
Defence lawyers, echoing rights groups, have pressed for a civilian trial, arguing that the military court lacks competence and ‘respect for the principle of public process,’ one source said.
But the court dismissed the request as legally unfounded, the official MAP news agency said.
The defendants are accused of ‘forming criminal gangs, and violence against the security forces leading to deaths and the mutilation of corpses’ in 2010, when authorities dismantled a camp where thousands of Sahrawis were living.
Authorities say 11 people died in the violence, among them members of the security forces, and 70 were wounded.
The politically-charged trial opened on February 1 after repeated delays.