Morocco/Western Sahara: Mohamed Lamin Haddi’s health deteriorating in custody

19/02/2021
Urgent Appeal
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MAR 002 / 0221 / OBS 022
Ill-treatment /
Deterioration of health /
Arbitrary detention
Morocco / Western Sahara
19 February 2021

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, urgently requests your action on the following situation in Morocco/Western Sahara.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed of the deteriorating state of health and ill-treatment of Mohamed Lamin Haddi, a journalist who had covered various stories related to the demonstrations and activities organised in the Gdeim Izik camp, located near the city of Laâyoune, Western Sahara, before its dismantling in 2010. On 19 July 2017, the Court of Appeal of Salé confirmed the 25-year prison sentence handed down by the Military Court of Rabat to Mohamed Lamin Haddi, who has since been held in Tiflet 2 prison in Morocco.

On 13 January 2021, Mr Haddi began an open-ended hunger strike to protest against the ill-treatment he had suffered at the hands of Tiflet 2 officials, including three years of solitary confinement, the absence of light in his cell and the denial of medical care. Since the beginning of his hunger strike, his health has deteriorated considerably. According to family members, his mobility is now reduced and he has difficulty expressing himself.

The Observatory reiterates that Mohamed Lamin Haddi was arbitrarily arrested on 20 November 2010 by Moroccan secret service officials in Laayoune, as he was about to meet two Belgian doctors to accompany them on their visit to several victims injured by gunfire during the dismantling of the Gdeim Izik camp. On 17 February 2013, the Rabat Court sentenced Mr Haddi to 25 years in prison for "violent acts against public officials in the exercise of their duties, with intent to cause death" (Article 267 of the Criminal Code of the Kingdom of Morocco), in the context of the Gdeim Izik macro-trial.

The Observatory expresses its concern about the allegations of ill-treatment and the deterioration of Mohamed Lamin Haddi’s health and calls on the Moroccan authorities to immediately take appropriate measures to ensure his safety, physical integrity and psychological well-being.

Furthermore, the Observatory urges the competent authorities to immediately release Mohamed Lamin Haddi on humanitarian grounds in light of his medical situation, and to conduct an independent, thorough and impartial investigation into the above-mentioned allegations of ill-treatment in order to identify those responsible and apply the criminal and/or administrative sanctions provided for by law.

Actions requested:

The Observatory requests that you write to the Moroccan authorities asking them to:

i. Proceed with the immediate release of Mohamed Lamin Haddi on humanitarian grounds in view of his medical situation;

ii. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Mohamed Lamin Haddi;

iii. Conduct a prompt, thorough, impartial and transparent investigation into the allegations of ill-treatment of Mohamed Lamin Haddi in order to identify those responsible and apply the criminal and/or administrative sanctions provided for by law

iv. Put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mohamed Lamin Haddi and all human rights defenders in Western Sahara.

Addresses :

- Mr Saad Dine El Otmani, Prime Minister of Morocco. Fax: +212 37 76 99 95/37 76 86 56
- Mr Nasser Bourita, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Morocco. E-mail: ministere@maec.gov.ma
- M. Mohamed Ben Abdelkader, Minister of Justice. E-mail: ccdh@ccdh.org.ma
- M. Mustapha Ramid, Minister of State for Human Rights. E-mail: contact@didh.gov.ma
- Mme Amina Bouayach, President of the National Council for Human Rights (CNDH). Email: cndh@cndh.org.ma
- H.E. Mr. Omar Zniber, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco to the United Nations Office in Geneva and other international organisations in Switzerland. Email : mission.maroc@ties.itu.int / maroc.ge@maec.gov.ma
- Mr. Alem Menouar, Ambassador, Mission of the Kingdom of Morocco to the European Union. E-mail: mission.maroc@skynet.be

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Morocco in your respective countries.

Geneva-Paris, 19 February 2021

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the FIDH. The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel OMCT: + 41 22 809 49 39
· Tel FIDH: + 33 1 43 55 25 18

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