Saharawi political prisoners in Moroccan prisons face the prospect of a slow, painful death given the deliberate medical negligence enforced by the prison authorities. Most detainees suffer severe health issues given the terrible conditions they are living in.
The majority of detainees are imprisoned in narrow cells that do not meet minimum requirements under public health. Here they are subjected to abuse, beatings, torture and psychological stress, all of which negatively impact on their general health. Cells are very crowded, lacking adequate ventilation and facilities for showering and not upholding basic requirements for cleanliness. Prisoners also receive very little edible food. All these factors contribute to prisoners’ susceptibility to contracting diseases and being infected by lice.
Former prisoners and the families of detainees (in particular at the Salé, Ait Melloul and the Black Prison in El Aiún ) confirm that prison authorities withhold treatment from detainees who are ill and do not give them medications they are sent by their families. Furthermore, the lack of medical units in the prisons with facilities to treat chronic illnesses means that a detainee must wait days or weeks whilst enduring constant pain until he/she is transferred to a specialist hospital for treatment. At times, prisoners die waiting for these transfers.
The families of prisoners and detainees and members of the legal defence teams confirm that there is a consistent medical negligence. This includes: the lack of necessary surgical procedures, the lack of effective treatment for prisoners with a variety of complaints, and a lack of specialist medications within the prisons (eye and dental and ear, nose and throat treatments). There is also a lack of doctors on call during the night in the prison clinics, hindering the treatment of emergency cases, and a lack of medical devices required by people with specific illnesses, such as glasses, ventilators and nebulizers for asthma. The lack of isolation rooms for patients with infectious and contagious illnesses, such as viral inflammatory intestinal conditions, and scabies resulting from the lack of hygiene, all contribute to the rapid spread of illnesses between detainees when coupled with the serious overcrowding in the prisons. When patients are transferred to receive treatment in hospitals they are handcuffed and transported in by car.
The symptoms of detainees with illnesses are further exacerbated by the terrible conditions they are living in including: lack of ventilation, extreme heat, overcrowding, as well as the shortage of cleaning materials and resources to deal with insect infestations and the violence and maltreatment inflicted on them by the prison guards.
Clinics in the prisons for women located in Western Sahara lack medications and the resources needed to tackle the infections the female prisoners suffer. They also lack specialist gynaecological medications. As a result, women must wait for a long time for treatments for which they need to leave the prison to go to the hospital. Their conditions are further exacerbated by torture and the precarious nature of transportation from the prison and the inhumane treatment they are subjected to.
Those detained in the many police stations throughout major cities and the whole of the occupied territories of Western Sahara are without medical and sanitary treatment and are subjected to physical and psychological torture whilst there.
Many prison detainees are suffering infections in their kidneys, chest pains, high blood pressure, diabetes, rheumatism, loss of vision, stomach complaints, intestinal problems, infections caused by muscle tears, infections in the digestive system and genitals and skin irritations.
AdalaUK notes that some prisoners are suffering from severe illnesses, such as heart complaints, diabetes, liver and kidney infections, as well as dozens who are suffering severe pain as a result of torture and injuries they received during their detention. Examples include the cases of the following three former prisoners who suffered torture during their incarceration and who are now all living in El Aiún:
Mohamed Layube who suffered severe pain to his arm from muscle tears from torture;
Ahmed Babait who is suffering from excruciating headaches;
Sidi Brahim Babait who is suffering from extreme back pain.
In line with this, and following visits to a number of detainees and their families in the occupied territories, AdalaUK can highlight the following serious cases:
- Saharawi political prisoner Abdul Jalil Arousi: suffered muscle tears to both his knees and a sharp increase in his blood pressure (from which he has fainted several times and suffers regular nose bleeds) resulting in his being in a critical condition. (Salé Prison, Morocco)
- Saharawi political prisoner Adaish Adafi: suffers from diabetes and has muscle tears to his right knee, strong pains throughout his back and in his right eye and muscle tears around his left ear. (Salé Prison, Morocco)
- Saharawi political prisoner Mohamed Bashir Boutanguiza: has muscle tears in his right knee and loss of vision. (Salé Prison, Morocco)
- Saharawi political prisoner Chikh Banga: has a growth in his left eye and in his intestine, muscle tears to the left knee and severe pain throughout his back. (Salé Prison, Morocco)
- Saharawi political prisoner Mohamed Lamine Hadi: is suffering from back, ear and stomach painsand muscle tears to his right knee.(Salé Prison, Morocco)
- Saharawi political prisoner Mohammed Bani: is suffering from headaches and kidney pains as well as pains in his feet, eyes and ears. (Salé Prison, Morocco)
- Saharawi political prisoner Mohammed Mbarek Lafkir: is suffering from headaches, chest pain and is having difficulty breathing. (Salé Prison, Morocco)
- Saharawi political prisoner Mohammed Boreal: has pains in his neck and stomach and chest pain. (Salé Prison, Morocco)
- Saharawi political prisoner Abdullah Toubali: has pains in his stomach and is having difficulty breathing. (Salé Prison, Morocco)
- Saharawi political prisoner Ahmed Sbai: is suffering from high blood pressure, has anxiety attacks and chest pain. (Salé Prison, Morocco)
- Saharawi political prisoner Mohamed Khouna: is suffering from pain in his spine and shoulder and in his eyes. (Salé Prison, Morocco)
- Saharawi political prisoner Sidi Ahmed Lamjid: is suffering from a kidney infection and has pain in his spine and eyes as well as his right hand. (Salé Prison, Morocco)
- Saharawi political prisoner Ibrahim Ismaili: is suffering from constant headaches, pain in his back and right knee. He has a growth on his left thigh and is suffering from hemorrhoids and a loss of vision. (Salé Prison, Morocco)
- Saharawi political prisoner Hussein Zaoui: has a kidney infection, including pain in his prostrate and when he passes urine in addition to back pain. (Salé Prison, Morocco)
- Saharawi political prisoner Bashir Khada: has pain in his eyes and in his mouth. (Salé Prison, Morocco )
- Saharawi political prisoner Abdullah Abhah: is suffering from back, spinal and joint pain as well as rheumatism and a kidney infection(Salé Prison, Morocco)
- Saharawi political prisoner Hassan Dah: has toothache and pain in his right arm. (Salé Prison, Morocco)
Detainees and prisoners die due to this medical negligence and the terrible conditions they are living in, as in the cases of the three men listed below:
- Hicham Algarimi (Number 37 163) in the local prison in Ait Melloul, Morocco
- Fadel Muhammad Sadik (Number 11952) in the local prison in Ait Melloul, Morocco
- Mohamed Alborhimi (Number 515 789 in the local prison in Ait Melloul, Morocco
The suffering of the Saharawi detainees in Moroccan prisons has notably increased and this suffering extends to their families who feel a great sense of injustice given the situation their loved ones are living in and the plight of the Saharawi people still waiting for the right to self-determination as promised by the UN under Resolution 1415. They are also afflicted by the negative propaganda employed by the Moroccan media during the arrests and trials of the prisoners which seek to discredit these political prisoners, their families and children.
Together, these factors have negative psychological effects on the detainees resulting in continual hunger strikes by the prisoners.
The negligence on the part of the prison authorities regarding prisoners on hunger strike, despite local and international calls to respond, signifies collective punishment of the prisoners and their families.
These cases are examples of the results of a policy which prevents ill detainees from receiving appropriate treatments at their place of detention.
The international community and representatives of international human rights organisations must ensure that MINURSO includes a human rights monitoring mandate and put pressure on the Moroccan state, reminding it of its duties under the Geneva Convention to protect the health of detainees in prisons, to save their lives.
AdalaUK asks the Moroccan state to offer assistance to prisoners and detainees:
- By freeing all political prisoners
- By immediately freeing all political prisoners who are suffering from serious health conditions, as confirmed by their lawyers.
- By treating all prisoners and detainees in a humane way, especially those who are suffering from serious health conditions.
Adalauk interviewed the following political prisoners (and former prisoners) and their families:
The Black Prison – El Aiún, Western Sahara
Salé Prison, Morocco
Sidi Ahmed Lamjid
Abdul Jalil Arousi
Mohamed Bashir Boutanguiza
Mohamed Lamine Hadi
Mohammed Mbarek Lafkir
Mohamed Khouna Babait
Tiznit Prison, Morocco:
Omar Daoudi Arrest Number 86 298
Brahim khalil Maghimima
Mohamed Lamine Alatar Arrest Number 38599
Ait Melloul Prison, Morocco:
Mohammed Alborhimi Arrest Number 515 789 (who died in Ait Melloul prison)
Yahia Mohamed Elhafed Arrest Number 14724
Bashir Buamoud Arrest Number 13189
Sidi Sbai Arrest Number 13191
lhafad Toubali Arrest Number 13190
Mohammed Aljamor Arrest Number 13188
Dakhla Prison, Western Sahara:
Mohamed Manolo Arrest Number 36.346
Kamal Atrayah Arrest Number 36.345
Atiq Barray Arrest Number 36.540
Mahjoub aulad El Sheikh Arrest Number 36344
Hasana Lwali Arrest Number 36672
Azizi Bray Arrest Number 36 359
Omar Algazari Arrest Number 36462
Hamada Alaoui Arrest Number 36461
Tantan Prison, Morocco:
Fatiha Busahab Arrest Number 748
Ataki Almashdofi (Salé Prison)
Fatimato Asabi (The Black Prison – El Aiún, Western Sahara)
Ahmad Babait (The Black Prison – El Aiún, Western Sahara)
Sid Brahim Babait (The Black Prison – El Aiún, Western Sahara)
Ghalia jamani (The Black Prison – El Aiún, Western Sahara)
Fadala Joda (The Black Prison – El Aiún, Western Sahara)
Azahra Lansari (The Black Prison – El Aiún, Western Sahara)
And the families of the 22 political prisoners from the ‘Gdiem Izik’ Group. Interviews conducted in: El Aiún, Western Sahara; Asa, Southern Morocco and; Tantan, Southern Morocco.
AdalaUK Justice & Human Rights for Western Sahara