Tobias Ellwood MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Dear Tobias Ellwood MP
we are writing to you regarding the plight of thirteen Saharawi political prisoners from the group known as ‘Gdeim Izik’, who began a hunger strike on 1 March 2016 and who consequently, today, have not eaten for 27 days. These the ‘Gdeim Izik’ Group were detained in 2010 following the brutal dismantling of the peaceful protest camp that had brought together tens of thousands of Saharawis on the outskirts of El Aaiún, the capital of Western Sahara that has been occupied by Morocco since 1975.
Neither the prison board nor any government authorities have made contact with the prisoners and, according to a press release from the prisoners’ support committee, their health is deteriorating rapidly. None of the prisoners has been seen by a doctor and are all suffering from weight loss, significant changes in blood pressure, anxiety and intense pain in a number of organs. Some of them are losing blood when they urinate and others have severe heart problems. The support committee has also made a complaint about a prison nurse who tried to administer an injection to one of the prisoners, which he rejected.
Importantly, the prisoners’ trial was illegal as they were tried by a military court despite their being civilians. No evidence was presented to corroborate the charges brought against them, other than false confessions obtained through torture, as was highlighted by various international observers during the trial.
Adala UK, demand the law be adhered to and therefore demand the immediate release of the prisoners. We urge you to do everything in your power to raise this issue as one of the utmost importance with the Moroccan authorities to ensure the release of the prisoners, before their health deteriorates further.
I thank you for your time and trust you will treat this grave issue with the urgency it so clearly warrants.
We look forward to hearing from you.