Adala UK writes to the Moroccan Ambassador about the death of a saharawi political prisoner

the Moroccan embassador to UK Lalla Joumala Alaoui

Dear Ambassador,

On 28 September 2014, Mr. Hasana Elwali, a Saharawi political prisoner, died due to torture and ill treatment and prolonged medical negligence.

Hasana Elwali had been in a critical condition for several weeks due to severe beatings and torture at the hands of the Moroccan occupation authorities. His hand was deformed due to torture and he underwent surgery in July and August this year.

The tragic death of Elwali Hasana is an example of the terrible conditions Saharawi political prisoners endure in Moroccan jails: they receive no health care and when they do receive medication, severe errors often occur in the prescriptions, which leads to the assumption that these cannot be accidental.

We have been sending you appeal letters about Saharawi political prisoners, who are unfairly detained without evidence, and have received unfair prison sentences, violating Moroccan law, the Moroccan constitution, and all agreements and treaties ratified by Morocco. Morocco is not the administrative power of Western Sahara and has no right under international law to occupy, colonise and judge Saharawi citizens.

We would like to inform you that:

Hasana Elwali, was arrested on January 5th, 2012 due to his participation in a peaceful demonstration, which demanded self-determination for the Saharawi people in the city of Dakhla. Subsequently he had several unfair trials, the last one of which was held in March 2012, and at the time of his death he had served two years of a three-year sentence.

Since the beginning of this year, there have been more than 30 hunger strikes by political prisoners, including a 67-day hunger strike of Mr. Boukioud Abdallahi, who is currently on hunger strike again. All prisoners demand the same: respect for basic rights and access to health care, as they are all victims of abuse and torture, poor diet, and don’t have minimum hygienic conditions, living in overcrowded and unventilated cells which are closed for up to 12 hours per day.

Hasana Elwali was born in 1973 in Anzaran ber, Dakhla, in the south of Western Sahara; he was a member of the Committee against Torture in Dakhla and a representative of the association of victims of landmines. In July 2014 he had an operation on his hand that was totally distorted because of the torture, in August 2014 he was operated again in the same hand.

His health seriously deteriorated in recent weeks due to complications from diabetes and a severe ulcer. He should have been transferred to hospital immediately, which was not done.

Mr. Elwali had been asking for health care and his companions (seven other Saharawi political prisoners) also protested to demand his urgent treatment for several days.

He was eventually taken to the Civil Hospital in Dakhla where he fell into a coma for the first time and then to the Military Hospital Dahkla, where the authorities denied his family the right to visit him.

On 29 September, Sahrawi citizens demonstrated in front of the Military Hospital. The demonstration was immediately stopped through a violent intervention by the Moroccan occupation forces. The streets were full of police and other authorities to prevent any protests.

The remaining prisoners held in the prison of Dakhla are:

Awlad Elmahjoub Cheikh – end date of the sentence October 2, 2014
Kamal Trayaḥ – end date of the sentence October 3, 2014
Atiquo Barray – end date of the sentence November 14, 2014
Hamada Elaalou – end date of sentence October 22, 2014
Abdelaziz Barray – end date of the sentence October 3, 2014
Omar Elkazari – end date of sentence October 22, 2014
Mohamed Manolo – end date of the sentence October 2, 2014

There are over 70 Saharawi political prisoners in Moroccan jails with known whereabouts, hundreds of missing persons, abductions, torture, abuse, racism, humiliation and constant repression of these prisoners whose only crime is to peacefully defend the right to their country which is illegally occupied by Morocco.

We urge you to use your influence to ensure that these political prisoners are released with immediate effect and unconditionally, that the use of torture is abandoned immediately and that basic health and hygiene standards are observed across all Moroccan prisons.

Yours sincerely,

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