Morocco/Western Sahara: Torture and ill-treatment against the journalist Mohamed Lamin Haddi

27/04/2022
Urgent Appeal
en es
Miquel Garcia / Creative Commons

New information
MAR 002 / 0221 / OBS 022.2
Arbitrary detention/
Deterioration of state of health/
Ill-treatment and torture
Morocco / Western Sahara
27 April 2022

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint partnership of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your intervention in the following situation in Morocco / Western Sahara.

New information:

The Observatory has received with deep concern information about acts of torture and ill-treatment against Mohamed Lamin Haddi, a journalist who covered issues related to the demonstrations and activities carried out in the Gdeim Izik camp, located south of the city of Laayoune, Western Sahara, before its dismantling in 2010.

On 15 March 2022, Mr Haddi announced in a letter to the prison administration his willingness to start a new hunger strike to denounce the alleged acts of ill-treatment perpetrated against him by officials at Tiflet 2 prison, where he is being arbitrarily detained at the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal. In reprisal, according to Mr Haddi’s family, prison officials searched his cell, and proceeded to beat him and pluck his facial hair with tweezers while he was handcuffed, before using asphyxiation techniques. Despite the physical and psychological consequences of these acts of torture, Mr Haddi received no medical attention. As a result of these attacks, he was banned from telephone communication for ten days, until 25 March 2022, when Mr Haddi was able to make a two-minute phone call to his family under the surveillance of prison officials.

The Observatory recalls that Mohamed Lamin Haddi was arbitrarily arrested on 20 November 2010 by Moroccan service officials in Laayoune, when he was about to meet two Belgian female doctors to assist them in their visits to victims of the shooting that took place during the eviction of the Gdeim Izik camp. On 17 February 2013, the Rabat Court sentenced Mr Haddi to 25 years’ imprisonment for the crime of "violent acts against public officials in the performance of their duty, with the intent to kill" (Article 267 of the Penal Code of the Kingdom of Morocco), in the context of the Gdeim Izik framework-trial. On 19 July 2017, the Salé Court of Appeal upheld the 25-year prison sentence imposed by the Rabat military court against him and he has since been detained in Tiflet 2 prison. Mohamed Lamin Haddi has had few and limited opportunities to communicate with his family members, and requests for visits submitted by one of Mr Haddi’s lawyers have been denied on several occasions.

On 13 January 2021, Mr Haddi began an indefinite hunger strike to protest against multiple violations of his rights, including three years in solitary confinement, lack of adequate food, lack of light in his cell, and denial of medical care. However, Tiflet 2 officials fed him against his will and injected him with vitamins without providing him with medical care. His state of health worsened noticeably, with reduced mobility and difficulty in speaking.

On 3 March 2021, relatives of Mr Haddi were arbitrarily detained for sitting peacefully in front of Tiflet 2 prison in protest against the ban on visits to Mr Haddi.

The Observatory expresses its utmost concern about the allegations of torture and ill-treatment and the worsening state of health of Mohamed Lamin Haddi and calls on the Moroccan authorities to immediately take the most appropriate measures to guarantee his safety and physical and psychological integrity.

The Observatory condemns the arbitrary detention of Mohamed Lamin Haddi, the violation of his right to receive visits from his family and legal representatives, as well as the harassment against his relatives.

The Observatory urges the competent authorities to immediately release Mohamed Lamin Haddi and to independently, thoroughly and impartially investigate the above allegations of torture and ill-treatment in order to identify those responsible and apply the criminal and/or administrative sanctions provided by law.

Actions requested:

Please write to the Moroccan authorities urging them to:

i. Immediately release Mohamed Lamin Haddi and take the most appropriate measures to ensure his safety and physical and psychological integrity;

ii. Ensure Mohamed Lamin Haddi’s access to his family and legal representatives;

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

iv. End all harassment, including judicial harassment, against Mohamed Lamin Haddi, his family members and all human rights defenders in Western Sahara.

Addresses:

· Mr Saad-Eddine El Othmani, Prime Minister of Morocco.
· Mr Nasser Bourita, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Morocco. Email: ministere@maec.gov.ma
· Mr Mohamed Ben Abdelkader, Minister of Justice. Email: ccdh@ccdh.org.ma
· Mr Mustapha Ramid, Minister of State in charge of Human Rights. Email: contact@didh.gov.ma
· Ms Amina Bouayach, President of the National Council for Human Rights (CNDH). Email: cndh@cndh.org.ma
· Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco to the United Nations Office at Geneva and other International Organisations in Switzerland. Email: mission.maroc@ties.itu.int
· Mr Alem Menouar, Ambassador, Mission of the Kingdom of Morocco to the European Union. Email: mission.maroc@skynet.be

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

***
Paris-Geneva, 27 April 2022

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 FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT 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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