Inaction of Morocco towards torture of the Gdeim Izik Group

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gdeim izik

PUSL.- The 19 Saharawi political prisoners of the Gdeim Izik group are the example of Morocco’s absolute disregard of the United Nations Human Rights Mechanisms, namely the Committee against Torture and the lack of independence of the CNDH (Moroccan National Human Rights Council) as prevention mechanism against torture.

Three years have passed since the sentencing of the Gdeim Izik group in a trial that was orchestrated by the Moroccan Government with the sole purpose to give an image of fairness and independence of the law towards political power. Yet is was nothing else than a big theater. Not one consistent proof was put forward against the accused, no forensic evidence, nor any other kind of proof other than political accusations. The torture that the prisoners suffered was not investigated in accordance with the Istanbul protocol, even if Morocco put on a new show with doctors that are government employees and lack all independence making pretense reports.

The torture did not stop and the 19 prisoners continue to suffer prolonged confinement, harassment, reprisals and intentional medical neglect.

Maître Olfa Ouled the lawyer of these prisoners presented numerous complaints to the Moroccan authorities regarding the deterioration of the health status of her clients, the continuous denial of the competent authorities to give these prisoners adequate and immediate health care and other human rights abuses, including prolonged solitary confinement.

The lawyer adressed not only the Ministery of Justice, the general prosecutor of the King, and the DGAPR (penitenciary administration) but also the CNDH himself. None of these institution ever opened an investigation into the human rights abuses suffered by these prisoners.

So far no answer was sent by the Prosecutor or the CNDH to Maitre Ouled regarding the cases of prolonged solitary confinement.

This is evidence that CNDH, the National Mechanism to Prevent Torture is not working and has no independence since it does not address the complaints neither of the lawyer nor of the families.

The Ministry of Justice even went so far as to answer to Maître Ouled that it was not it’s competence to address the lack of medical access of the prisoners as if it was not a kind of torture itself.

Abdallahi Abbahah, Sidahmed Lemjeyd, Houcein Zawi are only three of the more than dozen prisoners of this group who need urgent medical assistance that is countinously denied to them.

The prolonged solitary confinement is applied to almost all prisoners detained in Tiflet and Ait Melloul, being the case of the detainees that have complaints presented in the Committee against Torture the worst, as they suffer reprisals.

The situation of the prisoners is increasingly worsening and no news are given by the Court de Cassation (Moroccan Supreme Court) which has still to issue a decision.

The complaints presented by Maitre Olfa Ouled on behalf of the Gdeim Izik Prisoners to the Committee against Torture have all been granted “measures provisoires” (urgent measures) like provisional release or stop torturing and immediate access to medical attention but are not respected by the Moroccan authorities.

What does Morocco intend? What are their intentions in regards of the International Mechanisms that they subscribed? Are they at all willing to respect their commitments?

The commitments of the Moroccan Government seem to be the same as the pretense trial, just a huge theatrical production with the sole goal to obtain founding and present themselves as a democratic country which is far from the truth.

In this case we are talking about Saharawi political prisoners, which entails an even bigger amount of International law violations by the Moroccan Government, but addressing only the human right issues and namely the torture and the commitment of Morocco to put end to this medieval practice we see that there is no political will nor judiciary independence.

In fact, Morocco shows with these actions it’s clear and continuous disregards toward the UN human rights bodies.

Are the Moroccan citizens available to continue to support a regime that is antidemocratic and does not respect their international commitments? Is the Moroccan judiciary unable to renew itself and break free of the iron fist of the Monarchic oppressive regime? It seems so for the time being.

Maître OULED stated that despite the silence of all the concerned parties, the fight to recognize the innocence of these men is still ongoing and all these complaints are just the beginning.

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