PUSL.- The Saharawi political prisoners of the Gdeim Izik group have been victims of increasing harassment, ill treatment and medical neglect and placed in prolonged solitary confinement for years.
Mr. Abbahah and Mr. Bourial are in prolonged solitary confinement since 2017 despite the protective interim measures granted by the Committee Against Torture of the United Nations (CAT).
The Interim measures issued by the CAT are amongst others the demand for provisional release of these prisoners. Ana Racu, the committee’s rapporteur on reprisals already referred to Mr. Abbahah case in August 2019, pondering the visit to Morocco for follow up in case of non-compliance by the Moroccan State.
Mr. Mohamed Bourial and Mr. Sidi Abdallah Abbahah have been particularly targeted in the last weeks.
Morocco once again does not respect its international commitments. The Kingdom signs and ratifies treaties and conventions with the sole goal to change its international image in order to obtain millions in economic incentives and aids, but without changing the reality on the ground and continuing to pursue a medieval, violent and repressive action against all those who defend human rights.
Mr. Bourial was transferred to Ait Melloul Prison on September 21, 2020. He was able to contact his family and informed them that he cannot leave his cell and is therefore locked up in the same cell 24 hours a day. Mr. Bourial described the lack of conditions of the cell which do not respect the most basic norms of hygiene and is full of vermin.
The food that is given to Mr. Bourial has an extremely poor quality. After his transfer he did not receive his belongings, all basic necessities were confiscated from him.
In Ait Melloul Mr. Bourial had an interview with the prison director who told him that he was in a “High security establishment” and that he therefore had to comply with the regulations of this prison or “go to the second stage”. A clear menace to the prisoner.
Mr. Bourial is in a situation of very severe physical but also psychological distress. In fact, he asked his family to convey to his lawyer, Maître OULED Olfa, that he is losing his mind progressively.
In view of this situation, Mr. Bourial has decided to start a hunger strike next week.
Mr. Sidi Abdallah Abbahah detained in Tiflet2 prison has according to his family and his lawyer been victim of extreme harassment and ill treatment by the guards in the past weeks.
This week Mr. Abbahah was scheduled for a dentist visit, which has been continuously postponed, but at the day and time of the appointment the guards did not allow him to exit the cell.
The harassment is in such an order that Mr. Abbahah repeatedly asked to talk to the prison director, without success.
In light of the extent of the harassment, Mr. Abbahah is considering not to leave his cell in order to avoid the ill treatment by the guards. This decision is not taking lightly since Mr. Abbahah already is forced to spend 23h in his cell, which constitutes a form of inhumane treatment.
The health status of Mr. Abbahah is also worrisome since he has been denied medical attention during his incarceration.
Mr. Houcein Zawi, who was recently transferred to Tantan prison has also been subject to ill-treatment and harassment and racism by the prison director.
His belongings were still not all sent to him from his former prison, the food he is given is inedible and the racist treatment is a constant. Mr. Zawi is now surviving only on the sparse quantity of food he is allowed to purchase inside the prison.
The harassment and ill treatment that these prisoners are subjected to are a clear reprisal for the fact that they have presented communications to the CAT.
The Moroccan state not only does not implement the CAT’s interim measure but also postpones the decision of the Court de Cassation (Moroccan Supreme High Court) regarding the legality of the ruling of the Rabat Court of appeal .
Therefore, the Gdeim Izik prisoners are still pending definitive sentencing, 10 years after their arbitrary arrest.