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Coordination of Families of Gdeim Izik Victims Denounces Statement Made by Special Rapporteur on So-called Naâma Asfari

Publié le Jeudi 8 Juillet 2021 | MAP

​Rabat - The Coordination of Families and Friends of the Victims of the Gdeim Izik Events has denounced the statement by the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, Mary Lawlor, on the issue of the so-called Naâma Asfari, noting that it is contrary to the principles that are supposed to govern the action of the United Nations.

In a letter sent to the Special Rapporteur, the president of the Coordination Ahmad Atertour informed her, on behalf of the other members, of "our condemnation and our disapproval of this statement which is at odds with the principles which must frame your action and make you a defender of human rights and their universalist value rather than a supporter of criminals and the abject acts they have committed .. you should side with the real victims and not instrumentalize the human rights values with the intention of justifying barbaric exactions".

Mr. Atertour said he had followed, in his capacity as President of the Coordination, the statement made on July 1st by the Special Rapporteur in which she called for "stopping the targeting of human rights defenders", saying he had seen, at the start, "an auspicious appeal because I myself defend the universal principles of human rights, including the right to life". Now, he noted, "going back to your statement, I was very surprised to see you mention the man named Naâma Asfari and present him to international public opinion as a defender of human rights in the Sahara, a description that pushed me to wonder about the hidden motivations of this statement and its conformity with human rights and the ideals framing the action of the United Nations and its experts".

"I should remind you, first of all, in my capacity as president of the Coordination that brings together the victims of the events of Gdeim Izik who were lynched, killed and whose bodies were mutilated in an execrable and inhuman way that is contrary to the international human rights, with a death toll of 11, victims of the bloodthirsty violence perpetrated by the criminals who controlled the Gdeim Izik camp and who attacked members of the public forces and unarmed civilian protection elements with bladed weapons, which led to a real slaughter against our sons who dismantled the camp in accordance with the law, in a peaceful manner and without violence". "It is this same man called Naâma Asfari, to whom some wanted to attribute the title of human rights activist, who commanded these armed groups which engaged in violence of extreme gravity and drove with four-wheel drives on members of the security forces whom they slaughtered and whose corpses they mutilated and pissed on, delivering scenes no less barbaric than those of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq,” Atertour pointed out.

"These acts are contrary to international treaties and to the United Nations Charter which makes the right to life sacred, considered one of the main elementary rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This right has been trampled underfoot by the gang led by Naâma Asfari".

"Naâma Asfari and his accomplices were tried before a military court in 2010 before the Court of Cassation annulled this verdict and referred it to a specialized civil court, namely the Court of Appeal of Rabat, hence benefiting from the amendment of the law establishing the Code of Military Justice, following which they were entitled to a trial which took place in the presence of international and national observers, the National Human Rights Council and representatives of the other national institutions concerned as well as it was covered by national and international media which took note of the various evidence incriminating Asfari and the other co-defendants and watched videos which show the true face of this individual".

"These video tapes show calls for violence launched by Naâma Asfari (..) and the Court accepted the request of all the defendants to submit them to a medical examination after allegedly claiming to be victims of torture. The Court also gave favorable response to requests for testimony expressed by their defense before sentencing them after a fair trial which respected the various international standards enacted by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights," he added. "We expected from you, before making such a statement, to refer to my person, in my capacity as president of the Coordination, to listen to me and to get informed about the continuing suffering of the families of the victims - a moral and physical suffering - We expected you to listen, in an independent and impartial manner, to the victims of the so-called Naâma Asfari and his accomplices in order to ensure the triumph of the value of life as well as this right which has been trampled upon by these individuals, while our sons were the victims," said Atertour.

"We deplore your statement which revived the memories of the injustice of which we were victims and reopened the incurable wounds of the attacks against our sons and of which the named Naâma Asfari did not show any regret just as he did not sent condolences to the grieving families,” the letter read. This statement "puts you at odds with the post you occupy as a UN expert and in contradiction with the Charter of the United Nations and all the international agreements on Human Rights. With your statement, you stand, strangely enough, by the side of a criminal and an assassin who was convicted by justice following a fair trial".

"By following your statement, disapproved of by all UN experts and all the parties defending human rights in their totality and their universality, we note with astonishment the degree of similarity with the speech of the permanent representative of Algeria to the Human Rights Council, which raises several questions about the synchronicity of these statements which struggle to reverse the truths and present the victims as criminals and, worse still, present the murderers as human rights activists, delivering, after all, a surrealist scene never before seen in the annals of the UN commissions". "Pending your response, we seize this opportunity to draw your attention that it was necessary to communicate with us as an Association and we are ready to present you with any clarifications", concluded Atertour.

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