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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Statement of the Political Prisoners of the Gdeim Izik group

On 10 November 2017, the Central Prison Administration of Kenitra placed a Moroccan prisoner who comitted violent crimes, in a cell in the same wing as the rooms of the Saharawi political prisoners Mr El Bashir Boutanguiza , Abdallahi Lakfawni and Houcein Zawi. , The presence of a detainee of criminal offense in the same wing where the Sahrawi political detainees are present constitutes a danger to our lives and a threat to our physical safety, especially since the Moroccan state, through its media, has always launched campaigns to incite against us, which makes us always threatened, especially after the prison administration has dispersed our group in various prisons. To join Saharawi Political Prisoners with Moroccan prisoners of criminal offense is a flagrant violation of the law, charters and customs that provide for the protection of prisoners of conscience, even more when the prisoners of conscience are from an occupied territory .

We condemn this heinous act and bad intentions and hold the Moroccan State fully responsible for what may affect the safety of our lives. Our lives are threatened and we call on all associations, and democratic institutions to intervene to save us.

Sahrawi political detainees of the Gdeim Izik group
Central prison of Kenitra

Monday, 13 November 2017

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Alarming situation of Saharawi political prisoners

Moroccan authorities have increased pressure and mistreatment of Saharawi political prisoners.

Mohamed Bani, Sidahmed Lemjeyid and Mbarek Lefkir were on a protest strike this Tuesday and Wednesday, they still do not have their belongings confiscated on September 16 when the Gdeim Izik prisoners were dispersed in 7 prisons in Morocco. This group that is detained in Ait Melloul spends most of the day inside individual cells and the guards have been trying through threats to force them to sign blank paper sheet. So far the Saharawi activists have refused. Their health situation is also getting worse.

Hassan Dah and Brahim Ismaili also from the group of Gdeim Izik detained in Tiflet2 prison are on hunger strike due to the ill-treatment to which they have been subjected. In response to this protest the prison administration sent Brahim Ismaili to a ward for prisoners with psychiatric diseases, in a cell without the minimum of hygienic conditions and infested by insects.

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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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Gdeim Group prisoners located

The eleven political prisoners of the group of Gdeim Izik who were in unknown whereabouts since the dawn of September 16, were located:

Prison of Tifelt 1
Bachir Khada, Hassan Dah, Brahim Ismaili and Cheik Banga

Tifelt 2
Mohamed Lamin Haddi, Khouna Babeit and Toubali Abdelahi

Bouzakarn Prison
Mohamed Tahlil

Ait Melloul Prison
Mohamed Embarek Lefkir, Mohamed Bani and Sidahmed Lemjeyid

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Gdeim Izik prisoners transferred from prison – 11 missing

At dawn on Saturday, 16 September, 18 of the 19 prisoners of the Gdeim Izik Group were arbitrarily transferred from prison without any prior notice. According to information from the families Naama Asfari was the only prisoner that remained in El Arjat prison, Abdel Jalil Laaroussi was taken to the Okacha prison in Casablanca and a group of six prisoners: Sidi Abdallahi Abbahah, Houcein Zawi, Abdallahi Lakfawni, Ahmed Sbaai and Mohamed Bourial were taken to Kenitra prison.

Eleven prisoners have been missing for more than 24 hours, neither families nor lawyers are informed of where they are.

This transfer takes place only a few weeks before the visit of the sub commission against torture of the United Nations to Morocco.

The Moroccan authorities try to make the contact between the UN sub commission and the Gdeim Izik group difficult and also weaken the group’s ability to defend their rights.

We recall that Morocco “hid” the prisoner Abdel Jalil Laaroussi, between criminal prisoners in 2014 when the working group on arbitrary detentions of the UN visited the prison in Salé, Rabat. Abdel Jalil Laaroussi had been violently tortured for months and with this maneuver Morocco prevented contact between the activist and the UN working group.

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