genocide, torture and illegal detentions

Brahim Ghali, the leader of the Polisario Front, a movement which defends the self-determination of the Saharawi people before the Moroccan state, has two ongoing cases in Spain. In fact, the magistrate investigating the cases, Sergio Pedraz, has already sent him one of the summons to testify, but the chief refused to sign it.

Ghali has been admitted to Logroño hospital – under a false name – since last April, because the Spanish government agreed to help him after contracting the coronavirus and presenting a serious condition. “A humanitarian act”, according to Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya, which resulted in an unprecedented diplomatic crisis.

Now, what exactly is Brahim Ghali accused of? Why will the leader of the Polisario Front have to deal with the Spanish justice system? According to records, the first case concerns “crimes of unlawful detention, torture and crimes against humanity”, while the second, initially closed (in October last year), was reopened yesterday. It deals with alleged crimes of “genocide, competing with murder, injury, illegal detention, terrorism, torture and disappearance” against various people.

Complaints from Sahrawi activists

The first cause finds its origin in a private complaint, formulated by Fabel Breica, a Sahrawi activist of Spanish nationality critical of the position of the Polisario Front, which accuses the leader of illegal detention and torture.

During one of his stays in the camps of Tindouf (Algeria), in 2019, Breica was arrested and sent to a center in an unknown location where, he says, he was tortured with beatings, electrocutions and hands and feet tied. He was urged to leave the area and was labeled a traitor. And it is for these facts that he was called to testify on June 1.

Now, the magistrate is awaiting a new response from Ghali, whose summons is also scheduled for June 1. However, that could change in the coming days, as Judge Pedraz waits to see how his health evolves. In the extreme case where the leader refuses to attend the declaration, an arrest warrant could be issued against him to bring him to justice.

The second case, recently reopened, stems from a complaint, in this case, from the Sahrawi Association for the Defense of Human Rights. Likewise, as legal sources at LaSexta confirm, Pedraz had not only planned to summon Ghali as a witness, but also as an investigator. However, for this last move, there is still no date, while it is still not known when the head of the hospital will leave and what he will do on June 1.

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