Court of appeal increased sentences for Saharawi activists Bouhalla and Botasufra

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PUSL.- Today, April 29, 2021, activists Ghali Bouhalla and Nafaa Botasufra were introduced to the court of appeal, which increased their sentences to 18 and 12 months respectively.

Bouhalla thus sees his sentence increased by 6 months and Botasufra by 4 months.

During the appeal hearing, no new elements were presented, nor evidence except for statements by the police.

On March 8, 2021, in the court of El Aaiun, Saharawi activists Ghali Bouhalla and Nafaa Botasufra were sentenced to 12 months and 8 months in prison.

During the trial, the two activists reported that they were tortured. The judge did not request any investigation into allegations of torture.

The sentence was based on charges of possession and distribution of drugs based on police records. Ghali Bouhalla and Nafaa Botasufra have denied signing their statements since their first hearing.

The trial of the two Saharawi activists has been postponed three times.

The two Saharawis were arrested on 11 February, the first hearing being on Sunday, 14 February. The trial was postponed to February 22, 2021, at the request of Maître Khaled, because he did not have access to Mr. Bouhalla’s file or the opportunity to interview his client.

On February 22, the trial was postponed to March 1, according to the court due to technical problems

The trial was scheduled to take place via the Internet for March 1 but was not held due to technical problems according to the judge and rescheduled for March 8, 2021.

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