Thirteen of the Gdeim Izik prisoners remain on open-ended hunger-strike more than two weeks after having begun on March 1, 2016 to protest their sentencing and detention conditions and demand that their appeal be heard. The Collective of Sahrawi Human Rights Defenders (CODESA), among other Sahrawi human rights groups, have demanded the release of the Gdeim Izik prisoners or their immediate and fair retrial in a civilian court. Moroccan authorities refused to address the demands of the prisoners.
On February 17, 2013, a Moroccan military court sentenced 25 Sahrawi civilians for their alleged involvement in the Gdeim Izik protest camp that was forcibly dispersed by Moroccan authorities in November 2010. Two of the 25 men were sentenced to time served and released, a third sentenced in absentia, and a fourth provisionally released due to health conditions. The remaining 21 detainees continue to serve prison terms between 20 years and life imprisonment. The men have reported being tortured and forced to sign false statements.
During their trial, the judge refused to look into allegations of mistreatment, the court failed to conduct DNA testing on the weapons seized, and the prosecution presented no compelling material evidence or witnesses implicating the defendants in the violence. Additionally and despite attempts to appeal the court decision in the time since, Moroccan authorities have lagged in their response, thus denying the prisoners essential due process rights. Although Morocco issued legislation in July 2015 that prevents civilians from being tried by military courts, the law does not say anything about previously sentenced defendants.