Morocco denies legal action against Saharawi political prisoners

The General Delegation of the Prison Administration and Reintegration (GDPAR) of the Kingdom of Morocco reacted to a letter sent by foreign lawyers to the French Prime Minister on the situation of the political prisoners of the group of Gdeim Izik reported yesterday in  h24info.ma.

In an article published on Thursday, in response to the letter / denunciation of a group of lawyers from 5 countries addressed to the French prime minister visiting Morocco, the General Delegation of the Prison Administration and Reintegration (GDPAR) denies the allegations and states that the detainees enjoy all their rights, in the same way as other prisoners, and do not suffer damage to their dignity or mistreatment,

According to GDPAR  “the lack of positive interaction between some of those detainees and their obstinacy in making hunger strike warnings despite the institution’s willingness to facilitate their detention conditions and preserve their health, the administration had to apply the regulation appropriate against them “. Not specifying what  the “appropriate regulation against them” is.

It is surprising to note that a hunger strike, according to the GDPAR  is an act of indiscipline which requires disciplinary correction and that there is an “appropriate regulation”, which probably are  the ones that can be read in the letter of the lawyers.

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GDEIM IZIK – Lawyers from 5 countries send letter to French Prime Minister

European lawyers from Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Italy and Switzerland sent today a letter to the French prime minister visiting Rabat calling for his intervention to protect the Sahrawi political prisoners known as the Gdeim Izik Group.

According to Ingrid Metton, French lawyer of the defense team of these political prisoners, the conditions of detention are alarming, with serious risks to the physical integrity of the 19 detainees not only because of the lack of medication and minimal medical attention, but also because the administration of Kenitra prison transferred a Moroccan prisoner of common crime with a history of extreme violence to the same ward as the saharawi detainees The political prisoners went on a 48-hour strike to alert public opinion to this threat and hold the prison director accountable for any injuries and attacks they may suffer.

This letter is a further appeal in a long list of international communications and denunciations from various quarters of civil society that warn of the seriousness of the situation and call on the international community to pressure Morocco to respect the basic principles of human rights.

Mrs. Metton reaffirmed that both she and her colleague and co-advocate for the group, Dr. Olfa Ouled will continue to defend these human rights activists until justice prevails.

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Ayoubi’s trial again postponed

The trial of Mohamed Ayoubi, a member of Gdeim Izik group, was postponed until next November 15th, according to information from the Committee of the Families of the political prisoners of Gdeim Izik.

The court in Rabat separated the trial of Ayoubi in the middle of the group trial, being the only one that still has no sentence dictated in this new process.

Mohamed Ayoubi was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2013 by the military court in Rabat but placed on probation due to his state of health.

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Hunger strikes of Saharawi Political Prisoners – families alert to their dire health situation

In a press release published yesterday the Comittee of families of the Gdeim Izik group alerted to the dangerous health situation of some of the political prisoners that are on hunger strike. Since the separation of the 19 activists and Saharawi political prisoners of the Gdeim Izik group on the 16th of September, they have been victims of ill treatment, harassment, discrimination and other forms of pressure including medical neglect.

Due to this situation, some of the political prisoners of this group, who are in 7 different prisons in the Moroccan kingdom, entered an open hunger strike.

The prison employees, with the consent of the administration of the different prisons, insult this group of saharawi activist systematically. The Moroccan prisoners convicted of common crimes are allowed to harass and menace them.

In Tifel 2 prison Cheik Banga, El Bachir Khadda and Hassan Dah, begun an open hunger strike since their transfer on the 16/09/2017. They have a debilitated health situation, and are having difficulty with standing and speech.

Lamine Haddi, started an open hunger strike also on 16/09/2017. Haddi is suffering from high blood pressure, acute stomach ache and difficulty to move.

Brahim Ismaïili, started an open hunger strike also on 16/09/2017, and is very debilitated.

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New report concludes: Western Sahara activists (known as the Gdeim Izik group) on arbitrary detention

The political activists, known as the Gdeim Izik Group, was on the 19th of July condemned to harsh sentences in the absence of material evidence. New report [1], written by international observer Tone Sørfonn Moe, conclude that the 19 detainees are, and have for almost seven years, been imprisoned on arbitrary detention. 

The Group of Gdeim Izik has been subjected to severe human rights violations, including torture and inhumane treatment both during arrest and in prison, and are still suffering under inhumane treatment. “The court provoked that Eênama Asfari lied and provoked false accusations. The court thus provoked that the accused declared false allegations upon torture, and retrieved the policemen (accused of torturing) to the witness box. The testimony of the policemen (torturers) was used as evidence in the final evidence evaluation, as supportive evidence to the police records (confessions under torture of which the accused claims were falsified against them). Instead of complying with its international obligations, Morocco did the exact opposite; They used illegal evidence, and instead of investigating the policemen, they used their testimony against the defendants.” Ms. Tone Sørfonn Moe stated.

Mads Andenæs, professor of law at the University of Oslo, and former head of the UN Committee on Arbitrary detention, expresses deep concern after observing the court case against 24 human rights activists from the occupied parts of Western Sahara. 19 of the 24 Saharawis remain in jail to this date.

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Gdeim izik: report denounces moroccon trial of saharawi political prisoner based on false confessions obtained under torture

gdeim izik

In a detailed report[1], Portuguese human rights activist Isabel Lourenço denounces the illegalities committed during the trial of the Saharawi political prisoners known as Gdeim Izik Group.

This group was abducted and put in arbitrary detention and tortured in 2010 after the dismantling by the Moroccan occupation forces in Western Sahara of the Peaceful protest camp known as Gdeim Izik and which Noam Chomsky characterized as the beginning of the Arab Spring.

The defendants had been convicted in a military trial in 2013, but the Court of Cassation, Morocco’s highest court, ordered new civilian proceedings pointing out the missing evidence concerning the alleged commitment of crimes and the fact that the whole military trial was based solely on the police minutes.

In the previous trial, a military court in Rabat convicted all of the defendants exclusively on the basis of their confessions obtained under torture.

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Six prisoners of Gdeim Izik Group on hunger strike

Mohamed Tahlil Sahrawi political prisoner from the group of Gdeim Izik, entered this night on hunger strike.

Tahlil is detained in Ait Melloul prison and protests against the subhuman conditions to which he is subjected, obliged to sleep on the floor without any blanket and subject to constant threats and insults from common criminals.

He joins his comrade Sidahmed Lemjeyid, who is detained in the same prison and started a hunger strike yesterday, 20 September.

Brahim Ismaili, El Bachir Khadda, Hassan Dah and Cheik Banga detained in Tiflet 1 have also been on hunger strike since day 19.

Kenitra’s group who was on a hunger strike for 48 hours on 19 and 20 September had a meeting today with the Kenitra prosecutor who wanted to know what the reasons for the strike were.

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Press Release of the Families of Gdeim Izik

Following the abductions of the Sahrawi political prisoners of the Gdeim Izik group, carried out by the prison administration, the latter were dispersed in different prisons within Morocco without their families being informed.

After communicating with some of these detainees, the magnitude of the suffering is clear. The situation of our children is tragic due to mistreatment and the political desire for revenge, contrary to all international rules and conventions that guarantee their dignity and their rights. The situation of Saharawi political prisoners can be summarized as follows:

  • Abuse with insults and defamation during and after the transfer, in particular the detainees Abdallahi Toubali, Brahim Ismaili in Tiflet 1 and Tiflet 2, and Sidahmed Lemjeyid and Mohamed Bani in Ait Melloul prison.
  • All prisoners are held in isolated cells that do not meet the minimum hygiene requirements. Some are full of worms and rats and the proximity of prisoners of common crime leads to polluting emissions (cannabis and tobacco). All their belongings that they brought from the previous prison were confiscated, like blankets, clothes, books and medicines.
  • They do not have access to the medical treatment required by their state of health, in particular Sidahmed Lemjeyid and Brahim Ismaili.
  • The right of free access to detainees is not guaranteed; the right to visit the mother of political prisoner Mohamed Mbarek Lefkir in Ait Melloul prison has been denied.

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Situation of the political prisoners of Gdeim Izik deteriorates

According to information obtained from the direct relatives of the detainees of Gdeim Izik, the Moroccan authorities did not allow detainees in Tiflet to take anything from the previous prison except for the clothing.

Brahim Ismaili went on an open hunger strike because of the ill-treatment he suffered, and the conditions of the cell where he lies on the cement floor. All his medications have been withdrawn by the guards.

The activists arrested in Tiflet are in cells in modules with prisoners of common crime.

Abdallahi Toubali will go on hunger strike on Thursday 21 September.

The detainees of the Gdeim Izik Group in Kenitra prison are in individual cells, also in modules with common criminals. This group will be on symbolic hunger strike for 48 hours on 19 and 20 September.

The family of Abdel Jalil Laaroussi remains without news about his state of health and without contact.

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