Friday, June 24

Cigar burns, blindfolds and tooth extraction: Sahrawis denounce torture by the Polisario Front

Protest against the leader of the Polisario Front, Brahim Gali, in the National High Court.

Protest against the leader of the Polisario Front, Brahim Gali, in the National High Court.

The Saharawi Association for the Defense of Human Rights (ASADEDH) has asked the judge of the National Court Santiago Pedraz that a doctor attached to the judicial headquarters conducts a forensic examination on Ahmed Tarouzi to accredit in this way the torture who claims to have suffered at the hands of the Polisario Front in the Tindouf camps (Algeria).

In a letter, to which Europa Press has had access, ASADEDH proposes to Pedraz that Tarouzi “be recognized by the forensic doctor attached to this court” to “prove the injuries caused as a result of the torture to which he was subjected.”

The request obeys the statement that Tarouzi gave on Tuesday as a witness to the human rights violations that the Polisario Front and Algerian agents They have committed since the 1970s in the Sahrawi refugee settlements, within the framework of the complaint filed by ASADEDH against 24 leaders of the political organization, including its leader, Brahim Ghali, and four members of the Algerian Intelligence.

According to legal sources consulted by Europa Press, Tarouzi told the head of the Central Court of Instruction Number 5 that he was imprisoned between 1982 and 1995 in a clandestine prison in Tindouf where members of the Polisario Front and the Algerian security used to torture those detained there, including himself.

In his case, he reported that they pulled out several teeth and molars, burned him with cigarettes and red-hot irons, tied his hands and feet, and blindfolded him, practices that would have left scars all over his body and that the ASADEDH prosecution intends to prove with said forensic examination.

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He also claimed that he witnessed torture of other inmates. Thus, he explained that one of his hands was cut off and he bled to death. Another common practice would be to hang them from the ceiling. To which is added, he indicated, that they were kept for whole days in cells so small that they could only be folded.

Tarouzi maintained that in that prison he saw Ghali giving orders several times. Asked who was torturing, he replied that he witnessed actions by various members of the Polisario Front and three Algerian generals.

Second complaint

The Sahrawi activist of Spanish nationality Fadel Breica offered a similar story to Pedraz on June 29, at ratify the facts denounced in the complaint filed against Gali for torture who would have suffered in the Tindouf camps in 2019.

According to this second complaint, upon arriving there, agents of the Polisario Front threatened Breica to leave but, far from doing so, he organized protests, being arrested and transferred to clandestine detention centers where he suffered beatings and electric shocks, among other practices. .

The complaint filed by Breica, which was initially filed by Judge José de la Mata -now at Eurojust-, was reactivated by Pedraz last January, although noting that the events denounced would not fit into the crime against humanity at there is no indication of a generalized attack on the civilian population.

Shortly afterwards, the judge admitted the complaint signed by ASADEDH for the mistreatment to which the Polisario Front allegedly subjected prisoners of war and Sahrawi citizens themselves, “especially” those of Spanish origin.

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Gali pass through Spain

The accusations against the president of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) were resumed when it was learned that he was in Spain, specifically at the San Millán-San Pedro Hospital (Logroño), where he was admitted on April 18 with a serious condition due to complications derived from the coronavirus.

His transfer from Algeria, which the Spanish Government called a humanitarian issue, was in the background of the diplomatic crisis unleashed with Morocco, which resulted in a flood of migrant arrivals, especially minors, to Ceuta.

Gali appeared on June 1 before Pedraz by videoconference from the health center, after which the judge agreed to release him without precautionary measures, seeing no evidence of a crime against him. A few hours later, in the early morning of June 2, the Polisario leader returned to Algeria in a medicalized plane.

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