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Startseite Urgent Actions 2015 10 Hunger striker beaten in prison
UA 219/15
Morocco
Abgeschlossen am 19. Oktober 2015

Hunger striker beaten in prison

AI-Index: MDE 29/2597/2015

Dual Belgian-Moroccan national Ali Aarrass was beaten and verbally abused on 29 September at Salé II prison, near Rabat. He has been on hunger strike since 25 August. He is at risk of further ill-treatment.

Ali Aarrass has said he was ill-treated on 29 September at the prison where he is detained, Salé II. His family have told Amnesty International that several men, some in green uniforms, others in plain clothes, came to search his cell at 8am without saying who they were. They threw him to the floor, causing him severe pain, as his hunger strike had left him severely weakened and struggling to walk. They kicked him and shouted at him when he asked to see a doctor. They filmed the search, which lasted over two hours, and confiscated four USB sticks. They then destroyed his personal belongings, off camera.

His family believe this punishment was in retaliation for having reported being tortured from 14 to 24 December 2010 while he was held in a secret detention centre run by the General Directorate for the Surveillance of the Territory (DST) in Témara, near the capital, Rabat, as well as an international public campaign calling for his release. Morocco’s judicial authorities announced on 21 May 2014 that they were conducting an investigation into his torture allegations, two days after the UN Committee against Torture found Morocco in breach of the Convention against Torture in relation to Ali Aarrass.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Ali Aarrass has been detained in Morocco since 14 December 2010, when he was forcibly returned from Spain. He has said he was held incommunicado and tortured for 12 days in a secret detention centre run by the General Directorate for the Surveillance of the Territory (Direction générale de la surveillance du territoire, DST) in Témara. He was previously the subject of UA 198/13 (https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde29/009/2013/en/).

Ali Aarrass is serving a 12-year prison sentence following a conviction for allegedly participating in and procuring arms for a criminal group known as the «Belliraj network». The court had relied on a «confession» which he said was obtained through torture.

As part of the new investigation opened on 21 May 2014, Ali Aarrass underwent a medical examination in November 2014 over several days, without an independent monitor present, as proposed by his lawyers and, separately, Amnesty International. His lawyers have not yet received the medical examination report.

Ali Aarrass went on hunger strike on 25 August 2015 to urge the Moroccan authorities to release him, two years after the UN WGAD called on them to release him immediately, after concluding that he had been convicted solely on the basis of «confessions» extracted under torture. He also protested against significant delays in the investigation carried out by the judicial authorities into his torture allegations, as well as the Court of Cassation’s failure to take a decision in his case nearly three years after he appealed against his conviction before the court, which is Morocco’s supreme judicial authority.

Ali Aarrass also went on hunger strike to protest against the way he said he was treated from July 2015 onwards by the head guard in his prison block. Ali Aarrass told his family that the head guard prevented him from having access to either the prison doctor or personal hygiene products, and taunted him by having a meal delivered to his cell during his hunger strike. According to Ali Aarrass’ family, the head guard was transferred in September to another post in the same prison. 

The UN Human Rights Committee decided in July 2014 that Spain had breached its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by extraditing Ali Aarrass to Morocco, in spite of warnings by the UN and Amnesty International. It asked Spain to award Ali Aarrass adequate compensation and take all possible measures to work with the Moroccan authorities to ensure he was well treated in Morocco. In 2015, the Committee against Torture also expressed concern about the extradition and called on Spain to investigate his torture.

Name: Ali Aarrass

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