PARIS (France)- Mayor of Saint-Denis (Paris suburb) Laurent Russier on Tuesday expressed "consternation with the lack of fairness in the trial of 24 Saharawi political prisoners of the Gdeim Izik group, which opened Monday in Rabat, Morocco.
"I express my dismay over the lack of fairness in the trial and reiterate my commitment to human rights issues and the right to peoples' self-determination," the French mayor said.
Since Dec 26, Russier said, irregularities have been noticed "casting a serious doubt on the fairness of the trial."
Action by Christians Against Torture (ACAT) group and the delegation of international observers Izquierda Unida (IU) stressed a "failure of procedural safeguards," as "the defence counsel has not been granted full access to the bills of indictment."
The prisoners' lawyer "has not been allowed to speak freely in the courtroom, or get access to the total translation of the proceedings," they deplored.
The defence counsel denounced the fact that the defendants were put in a glass box, at the courtroom, preventing them from hearing the proceedings.
In addition, the prisoners' families were not allowed to get access to the courtroom.