Suspected of “torture” and “genocide”, the leader of the independence movement Front Polisario, Brahim Ghali, must be questioned on Tuesday by a judge from the Spanish hospital where he is being treated for Covid-19. His arrival in the country sparked a major crisis between Spain and Morocco.
The leader of the Saharawi separatists of the Polisario Front, targeted by two complaints for “torture” and “genocide”, must be heard on Tuesday June 1 by the courts in Spain. His stay in the European country for medical reasons is at the heart of a major crisis between Rabat and Madrid.
Hospitalized since April in Logroño for complications related to Covid-19, Brahim Ghali will be interviewed by video-conference, from the hospital in this city in northern Spain, by a judge of the Madrid high court of the ‘National hearing, in a hearing closed to the public scheduled for 10:30 a.m. (8:30 a.m. GMT).
The leader of the Polisario Front and president of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR, self-proclaimed in 1976) has not been charged in either of these two cases. At the end of his investigation, the judge may decide to prosecute him or to dismiss him.
The fact remains that this hearing is the center of all attention in Spain and Morocco after more than a month of tensions at the highest level with, as a climax, the arrival in mid-May closely. of 10,000 migrants in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta.
A complaint filed by a dissident of the Polisario Front
At the origin of this hearing, a complaint “for illegal arrest, torture and crimes against humanity” lodged in 2020 by Fadel Breika, dissident of the Naturalized Spanish Polisario Front, who claims to have been the victim of “torture” in the camps of Sahrawi refugees in Tindouf, Algeria. Closed, this complaint was reopened at the start of the year.
Dating from 2007, the second case on which Brahim Ghali will be heard, also previously classified, has been reopened thanks to the presence in Spain of the leader of the Polisario.
This is a complaint lodged in 2007 by the Sahrawi Association for the Defense of Human Rights (ASADEDH) for “genocide”, “assassination”, “terrorism”, “torture” or “disappearances”, committed there again in the Tindouf camps, according to this organization based in Spain.
Believing that there were “no clear signs” of the participation “of Brahim Ghali in the crimes described in this second complaint, the judge refused to confiscate his papers from the Polisario chief to prevent him from leaving the country. Spain, as claimed by the complainants.
Brahim Ghali had already been summoned to appear in connection with this complaint in 2016, when he had to go to Spain to participate in a conference in support of the Saharawi people, but he had finally canceled his trip.
Morocco calls for an investigation
On Monday, the Moroccan Foreign Ministry warned that the crisis was “not going to be resolved with the sole hearing” of the Polisario leader and again called for a “transparent” investigation into the conditions of his arrival in Spain while Morocco accuses him of having traveled “with a falsified passport”.
In a new round of vigorous exchanges, Rabat also stressed that this crisis was “a test for the reliability” of the partnership between the two countries.
“In danger of death”, the leader of the Polisario arrived in Spain, according to the daily El Pais, in the greatest secrecy on April 18, aboard a medicalized plane of the Algerian presidency and provided with a “diplomatic passport “.
He was then admitted to Logroño hospital under a false name “for security reasons”, which prompted the judge to send police on the spot in early May to verify his identity and inform him of his summons. .