Moroccan police brutally assault Saharawi citizens before detention

Moroccan police have once again violated international law and breached their obligations under international treaties. A video published on social media shows 16 police officers approaching a civilian vehicle in 4 vehicles and detaining the 3 Saharawi citizens inside by force. Without any words bring exchanged, the police officers started beating the Saharawi citizens around the head with antiriot batons and kicking them all over their bodies. The video was later deleted. 

The beatings lasted for several seconds, and afterwards the men were forcefully dragged from the vehicle. The video shows a further 8 police officers arriving and continuing to brutally beat two of the young men until they could no longer move. The video shows them trying desperately to escape from the police while they being beaten for one minute, until the video ends. Watch video: 

The video was published on social media causing a wave of public outrage in Occupied Western Sahara, shortly before prisoner of conscience Salah Eddin Laser was released after 4 years in prison. The occupation authorities prevented Saharawis from reaching Saleh’s house by using excessive force. There is further video and photo evidence of these actions undertaken by the police. 

Adala UK is concerned about the numerous complaints regarding excessive use of force, including the case of the two young men who were subjected to brutal beatings. The video shows how several male police officers brutally beat the men in Smara (in the Occupied Western Sahara) and one of them almost lost an eye as a result of the impact. 

“Moroccan authorities must respect the right to freedom of assembly, expression  and association so that individuals can exercise their rights without fear of suffering injuries or being deprived of their freedom or their physical integrity”. 

Adala UK calls for the protection of human rights as established in international covenants and treaties and ratified by Morocco. Sidi Ahmed Alyadasi, president of Adala UK, declared that: “Moroccan authorities must respect the right to freedom of expression, association and assembly so that individuals can exercise their rights without fear of suffering injuries, being prevented from their freedom or their physical integrity”. It is necessary to condemn any act of violence or abuses that attempts to intimidate or quieten those who want to exercise their right to demonstrate and to demand their right to self-determination and independence. To that aim, not only must Moroccan security forces refrain from using excessive force, but they must also intervene to guarantee the right to peaceful demonstration established in Art. 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Furthermore, Adala UK reminds the authorities of their duty to investigate any complaint of human rights violations and any other complaint of abuses committed by their agents. Perpetrators must be brought to justice. Finally, Moroccan authorities must guarantee that no one is deprived of their liberty for exercising their legitimate right to freedom of expression, association and assembly. In case of detention, their right to due process without unnecessary delay must be respected and access to their family and lawyers periodically and in a timely manner must be guaranteed. Authorities must prevent any act of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Adala UK also calls on Saharawi demonstrators to continue exercising their right to freedom of expression, association and assembly in a peaceful manner. 

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