Adala UK demands an immediate, thorough and independent investigation into allegations by 17 year old Shiaa Lahmaidi who reports to have been tortured whilst in police custody in El Aiun.
Upon his conditional release, the young man was interviewed by Adala UK. He said that he was afraid that he would receive an unfair trial because his “confession” was obtained under torture. His trial is scheduled for 10th April 2014.
Shiaa explained that he had participated in a peaceful demonstration on 13th March, demanding the Saharawis’ right to self-determination and a widening of MINURSO’s functions to include a human rights monitoring mandate. During the demonstration, he and a group of other young Saharawis were chased by Moroccan police and sought refuge in a family’s home for fear of being reprimanded and tortured. A group of uniformed Moroccan police however entered the house forcefully and physically assaulted the young people.
Afterwards, Shiaa was forced into a police car, despite his serious head injuries and pain in this back, chest, neck and face. The car stopped in a place Shiaa could not recognize as it was dark, before taking him to the main police station where he was detained and beaten again.
He was later transferred to Hassan Mahdi hospital in El Aiun where police told the doctors that he had been drinking alcohol and had been in a traffic accident.
When he appeared before a judge, Shiaa was not asked how he had sustained the injuries on his face and head and he was not presented to a doctor again to examine the serious health conditions resulting from the torture he was subjected to.
Adala UK is extremely concerned about these reports of torture of detainees by the Moroccan authorities. These torture allegations have to be thoroughly investigated and those responsible held to account.