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.
H.E. Prime Minister,
On November 15 and 16, 2017, the 13th edition of the Mixed High Commission will be held in Rabat, where you will be attending alongside French businessmen.
We, members of the International Collective of Lawyers in Support of Political Prisoners of the Gdeim Izik Group, wish to draw your attention to the situation of these nineteen detainees.
We will not return to the conditions of the appeal trial at which they were sentenced to very heavy sentences (20 years in prison to life), sentences handed down after an unfair trial marked, in particular, by the violent exclusion of the two French defense lawyers.
Today, the information that we want to forward to you are about the alarming prison conditions of these detainees.
The state of health of several of them is very worrying, in particular because they no longer receive medical treatments adapted to their pathologies: heart disease, kidney disease, hypertension, severe asthma, as well as multiple pathologies resulting from the torture they have undergone (rectorragy, pain in the soles of the feet, hypersensitivity of the eyes).
Currently the Prisoners are still subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment by Moroccan prison guards. Many of them are now detained with violent prisoners and fear for their lives – we are wondering about the reasons for this sudden detention with extremely violent criminals.
Prime Minister, Ministers, you are aware that the Kingdom of Morocco has been condemned by the UN Committee against Torture for torturing and convicting Mr. Naama ASFARI, (one of the nineteen prisoners) on the basis of confessions obtained under torture.
We also remind you that Mrs. Claude MANGIN, Mr. ASFARI’s wife, is a French national who has been refused access to the territory of Morocco for 1 year and a half, while her husband has been sentenced to 30 years in prison. The Kingdom of Morocco is thus constantly and seriously undermining the right to a private and family life.
Prime Minister, Ministers, we do not doubt that on the occasion of this meeting, and that on the basis of what you call “the context of the exceptional friendship relationship between France and Morocco”, you, the representatives of France, will not fail to mention the situation of human rights in Morocco, which can not be excluded from any diplomatic and economic cooperation.
That on this occasion, you will remind the Kingdom of Morocco of the imperative need to grant Saharawi political prisoners, dignified treatment and respect of human rights, to protect them from any form of torture and inhuman treatment, and to ensure that they have effective access to the medical treatments they need to survive.
Prime Minister, Ministers, to condemn human beings to a life imprisonment is a sufficiently heavy sentence. Any other inhuman and degrading treatment, and any endangerment of the life of the detainees, are unworthy of the principles that France intends to defend throughout the world.
Lawyers members of the Gdeim Izik International Prisoner Support Collective
Paris, November 15, 2017
Oscar ABALDE CANTERO, University of San Sebastian
María Dolores BOLLO AROCENA, University of San Sebastian
Matteo BONAGLIA, Paris Bar
Tewfik BOUZENOUNE, Paris Bar
Nicolò BUSSOLATI, Turin Bar
Aline CHANU, Paris Bar
Nicolas COHEN, Brussels Bar
Emmanuel DAOUD, Paris Bar
Christophe DEPREZ, Brussels Bar
Francesca DORIA, Naples Bar
Guerric GOUBAU, Brussels Bar
Anis HARABI, Paris Bar
Fabio MARCELLI, Istituto di Studi Giuridici Internazionali, Roma
Ingrid METTON, Paris Bar
Stéphanie MOTZ, Zurich Bar
Olfa OULED, Paris Bar
Christophe PETITI, Paris Bar
Marie ROCH, Paris Bar
Thomas SCHMIDT, Dusseldorf Bar
Dominique TRICAUD, Paris Bar
Véronique VAN DER PLANCKE, Brussels Bar