At the heart of a diplomatic crisis, the Polisario leader heard by a Spanish judge

At the heart of a diplomatic crisis, the Polisario leader heard by a Spanish judge
At the heart of a diplomatic crisis, the Polisario leader heard by a Spanish judge

The leader of the Saharawi separatists of the Polisario Front, targeted by two complaints for «tortures» and “genocide”, will be heard Tuesday, June 1 by justice in Spain, where his reception to be treated there was the spark of a major crisis between Rabat and Madrid.

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Hospitalized since April in Logroño for complications related to Covid-19, Brahim Ghali will be interviewed by videoconference from the hospital in this city in northern Spain by a judge of the Madrid high court of the National Hearing, during a hearing closed to the public scheduled for 10.30 am 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 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. At the origin of this hearing, a complaint “For illegal arrest, torture and crimes against humanity” filed in 2020 by Fadel Breika, dissident of the Naturalized Spanish Polisario Front, who claims to have been the victim of «tortures» in the Sahrawi refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria. Closed, this complaint was reopened at the start of the year.

“No clear clues”

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 filed in 2007 by the Sahrawi Association for the Defense of Human Rights (ASADEDH) for “genocide”, “assassination”, “terrorism”, «tortures» or “Disappearances”, committed again in the Tindouf camps, according to this organization based in Spain.

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Believing that there was “No clear clues” of Brahim Ghali’s participation in the crimes described in this second complaint, the judge refused to confiscate his papers from the Polisario leader to prevent him from leaving Spain, as demanded by the plaintiffs. Brahim Ghali had already been summoned to appear in connection with this complaint in 2016 when he was to go to Spain to participate in a conference in support of the Saharawi people, but he had finally canceled his trip.

On Monday, the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned that the crisis was not over “Not to be solved with the only hearing” of the Polisario leader and again demanded an investigation “transparent” on the conditions of his arrival in Spain when 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 reliability” partnership between the two countries. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez retorted that it was “unacceptable” that Morocco could have “Attack the borders of Spain” letting migrants enter Ceuta due to “Foreign policy disputes”.

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“In danger of death”, the leader of the Polisario arrived in Spain, according to the daily The country, in the greatest secrecy on April 18, aboard a medical plane of the Algerian presidency and provided with a “diplomatic passport”. He was then admitted to Logroño hospital under a false name “For safety reasons”, which led the judge to send police on the spot at the beginning of May to verify his identity and inform him of his summons.

In retaliation for the reception of one whom Rabat considers to be a “War criminal”, Moroccan forces opened the floodgates two weeks ago at the border in Ceuta, causing an unprecedented wave of migration. Desert territory of 266,000 km² located north of Mauritania, Western Sahara is considered a “non-self-governing territory” by the UN, in the absence of a definitive settlement on its status. Supported by Algeria, the Polisario Front calls for a referendum of self-determination while Morocco proposes autonomy under its sovereignty.

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