Another Sahrawi dies in a Moroccan prison due to medical negligence

derechos-humanos-en-el-sahara-occidental1There have now been two deaths of Sahrawi prisoners in the first 34 days of 2015; and nine in the space of two years. On 3 February 2015, the Sahrawi Chaihib Abdelhay died. He was detained in prison in Tiznit in Morocco, serving a two-year sentence. He died as a result of the conditions of the prison and from medical negligence. We understand from information we have obtained from other prisoners that Chaihib had severe health problems and was the victim of systematic maltreatment on the part of the prison guards. A fellow detainee in Tiznit informed Adala UK that other prisoners, both Moroccan and Sahrawi, are now on hunger strike to protest about Chaihib’s death and the terrible conditions they are living in. Just 9 days prior to Chaihib’s death, the Sahrawi Abdul Baqi Aliyen Antahah died in the Black Prison of El Aaiún. He died on the afternoon of 26 January. Having protested about the terrible conditions in the prison, he was put in solitary confinement and brutally tortured. A source close to Aliyen told Adala UK that his confinement began on 21 Janaury. On 23 January he fell unconscious and did not receive any medical attention. He died three days later. He was just 22 years old. The same source told us that two prisoners in the neighbouring cell were witness to the beatings he received and said that he was hit in the head, as well as all over the rest of his body, by several guards. “We heard him begging for them to stop and shouting out in pain saying ‘my head, my head’”, the source told us. The two detainees who were witness to the torture, Jamal Ifli and Adda Rabagah, were then taken to an unknown location after his death in an attempt to cover up what had happened. The Sahrawi political prisoner Hasana El Wali died in hospital in Dahkla on 28 September 2014 having not received appropriate medical attention following torture. Hasana was detained in January 2012 for participating in a peaceable demonstration in Dahkla, seeking the self-determination of the Sahrawi people and sentenced to three years in prison. His body was buried in secret without the presence of his family. In August 2013, the Sahrawi political prisoner Mubarak Al-Mutawakkel died following a long illness whilst in prison. He was serving a sentence of 10 years and was repeatedly moved between Sale-Rabat and Ait Melloul prisons. On 5 May 2013, the 22-year old Mohamed El Burhimi, a Sahrawi political activist, died following seven days of hunger strike. Though his case was a civil one, he had been sentenced by a military court to 10 years in prison. He went on hunger strike to seek a fair trial. Adala UK has published many reports and statements regarding this issue and international organisations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Kennedy Centre and the European Parliament have condemned the human rights violations perpetrated against the Sahrawi people by the Moroccan authorities. However, the report by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on their trip to Morocco (9-18 December 2013) does not include visits to Sahrawi prisoners in the Black Prison in El Aaiún, or prisons in Dahkla, Ait Melloul, Tiznit or Inzegan. Adala UK urges the international community to intervene and begin an international investigation into the deaths of Sahrawi prisoners who die in Moroccan prisons. We call on the UN and all member states to guarantee the human rights of the Sahrawi people and that international law is applied in occupied Western Sahara, including the right to self-determination. The Moroccan occupation should promote respect for human rights and democracy. The Moroccan occupation should immediately, and without exception, release all Sahrawi political prisoners and guarantee a minimum standard for conditions for all prisoners in Moroccan prisons.

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