ASADEDH calls for the "immediate arrest" of Brahim Ghali

After Ghali's identity and presence in a hospital in La Rioja was confirmed, the association demands that he face justice

REUTERS/ZOHRA BENSEMRA  -   Boudjdour refugee camp in Tindouf, southern Algeria

The Saharawi Association for the Defence of Human Rights (ASADEDH) has asked the National High Court for the immediate arrest of the Polisario leader, Brahim Ghali. This request is the second issued by the Association so that Ghali does not evade "the action of justice" and answer for the alleged crimes committed against the dissident Saharawi population in Tindouf.

On 23 April, the association requested the reopening of the lawsuit filed against him, accusing him of alleged crimes related to genocide, murder, torture and disappearances. Following the identification of Ghali in a hospital in Logroño, the magistrate of the Central Court, Santiago Pedraz, could plan to take his statement on 1 June, according to Europa Press sources.

According to Europa Press, the appearance would be governed "to assess the adoption of precautionary measures of a personal nature with respect to him", which could lead to a provisional prison sentence due to "the seriousness of the facts and the crimes charged, as well as the penalties envisaged, the flagrancy in their commission, the persistence in illegality and the risk of repetition of the unlawful conduct".

In addition to Ghali, other Polisario Front leaders have been sued. This is the case of Sidahmed El Bellal Hedda, Gali Sidi-Mohamed Adelyelil, Bachir Sayed, Mohamed El Khalil and Mohamed Salec Abdesamad. In this regard, the Saharawi activist of Spanish nationality, Fabel Breica, is said to have been behind the complaints for the crimes of illegal detention, torture and crimes against humanity. Europa Press sources indicate that they will appear before the Audiencia Nacional on 8 May.

Breica has declared that he was arrested by soldiers and received beatings and electric shocks, after organising acts and demonstrations against the official line of the Polisario Front. In addition to this, the activist claims to be aware that a large number of Polisario leaders are in Spain, but that this is not made public so that they cannot be investigated.

In January 2020, the then investigating judge José de la Mata dismissed the complaint on the grounds that the Audiencia Nacional did not have sufficient jurisdiction to investigate "acts committed by foreigners abroad". Following this, Mata ordered that he be accredited with Spanish nationality, but this was never carried out.

His substitute, Santiago Pedraz, indicated that "the lack of competence of the Spanish state to investigate the facts set out in the complaint lies solely and exclusively in the lack of residence or nationality of the defendants, which is also the reason why they obstruct or conceal it".