Three witnesses described to the Spanish High Court on Monday the torture they allegedly suffered while they were imprisoned by the Polisario Front in jails set up at Sahrawi refugee camps in Algeria, a rights activist said.
Dahi Aguai, president of the Association for the Polisario Disappeared, told Efe news agency that one of the members of the movement – which is fighting for independence for Morocco-controlled Western Sahara – accused of torture by the witnesses lives in the Canary Islands.
The three witnesses – Lehbib el Karchi, El Kabch Mohamed Nafec and Echuear Mohamed Moled Ben – were all examined on Monday by a medical forensic expert appointed by the High Court to assess their injuries, Aguai said.
In November 2012, High Court Judge Pablo Ruz admitted a complaint filed by the association against the Polisario Front and Algerian officials for murder, genocide, torture and forced disappearance.
Among the figures named in the complaint are Mohamed Jadad, the former director of the Polisario’s military security unit who is currently the movement’s spokesman at the United Nations; Nabil Kadour, the military attaché at the Algerian Embassy in Mauritania; and General Omari, the Algerian ambassador in Rabat.
In the complaint, the association claims that the Polisario tortured people who didn’t agree with their independence drive or with policies at the refugee camps in Tindouf during the 1980s. “Prisoners of war, including Sahrawi citizens, especially those of Spanish origin” were mistreated by Polisario and Algerian officials, the association said in its complaint.
The Polisario Front is also accused of “retaining thousands of Sahrawis against their will at refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria, with the cooperation of authorities in Algeria,” the complaint states.