Brahim Ghali to be heard by Spanish courts

The judge of the Audiencia Nacional in Madrid, Santiago Pedraz, has reportedly issued an order for a hearing, according to estrechonews.com
Brahim Ghali

REUTERS/RAMZI BOUDINA  -   Brahim Ghali

After several days of controversy over the information spread about the presence of Brahim Ghali, leader of the Polisario Front, in Spain, hospitalised in a hospital in Logroño, as reported by media such as Jeune Afrique, the Spanish justice system has decided to summon Brahim Ghali on 5 May, according to media estrechonews.com.

The examining magistrate of the Audiencia Nacional in Madrid, Santiago Pedraz Gómez, reportedly issued a summons to hear the Polisario Front leader following a complaint lodged by the Saharawi dissident, Fadel Breika, a Spanish national, as reported by the above-mentioned website. 

In the complaint, the same person points out that he was abducted, arrested and tortured for months without trial before his release on 10 November 2019, as published by the same media. In addition, according to yabiladi.com, the judge also reportedly requested the hearing of Sid Ahmed El Batal, a security officer in the Tindouf camps. Bachir Mutsapha Sayed has also been summoned, according to the same media outlet.

The investigation into Ghali comes after the Saharawi Association for the Defence of Human Rights (ASADEDH) had filed a writ with the Central Court of Instruction number 5, which is headed by Santiago Pedraz, as reported by the media 20minutos. Brahim Ghali was charged in 2016 by the judge of the Audiencia Nacional, José de la Mata, following the accusation of committing crimes of genocide, murder, torture and disappearances allegedly committed against the dissident Sahrawi refugee population in the Tindouf camps (Algeria). The judge admitted a complaint filed in November 2012 by the association ASADEDH and three victims against 28 members of the Polisario Front and high-ranking officials of the Algerian government.

This measure comes just a few days after the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita, requested explanations from the Spanish government for the presence of the Polisario Front leader in Spain, which was argued in terms of a humanitarian issue by the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha González Laya. 

The latest complaint reads as follows: "I beg the Court to consider this document as presented and, in accordance with what I decree in it, to proceed to carry out the necessary investigations to proceed to the identification of the defendant Mr Brahim Ghali", as reported by estrechonews.com.

Brahim Ghali, allegedly identified as Mohamad Benbatouch as reported by media outlets such as Jeune Afrique, is accused of allegedly committing several crimes and pursued by Spanish justice after several Polisario victims' associations filed in 2008, 2013 and 2016 lawsuits and evidence against Brahim Ghali requesting his identification and arrest, as reported by estrechonews.com.