In order to protest the lack of fair trial protections during the Belliraj case, and in order to refuse the legal façade known as the “trial,” political prisoners’ defense attorneys have decided to withdraw from hearings commencing on 17 March 2010, which took place in Criminal Appeals Court in Sale, near Rabat. This action followed the detainees’ refusal of the court’s appointment of two additional attorneys and their proceeding without the most basic requirements of a fair trial in addition to the case’s human rights violations such as kidnapping, torture, breach of interrogation confidentiality, absence of evidence, forgery of records, assault on the defense’s rights, disregard for appeals, forgery of the initial ruling which wasn’t issued by the King. They commenced their response by going on public hunger strike starting on March 22, 2010. They attended the 29 March 2010 hearing in this condition and spoke once again to appeal the rulings in spite of visible exhaustion that resulted from seven days of hunger strike. Detainee Abdullah Al-Rammash was seen in a wheelchair as he was transported to the court. Detainee Abdulsamad Banouh was carried on the shoulders. Dr. Ma’ulainin Al-Abadlah lost consciousness and was taken to the hospital. The families, observers and solidarity activists who were present appeared deeply concerned for the detainees’ condition and protested at the entrance of the court by rallying and chanting. The families also staged a vigil at the Moroccan Committee for Human Rights’ headquarters and staged a hunger strike in solidarity with their loved ones.
The Arab Commission for Human Rights, which has observed some of the court proceedings and issued a report regarding the grave violations that took place prior to and during the trial, states its deep concern towards this horrifying deterioration of rights and liberties in Morocco. The Commission is particularly concerned with the fate of detainees in Al-Zaki prison in Sale who have gone on hunger strike, especially Dr. Ma’ulainin Al-Abadlah, who dramatically refused to drink water to object to the prohibition on his presence at the Wednesday 31 March 2010 hearing. We restate our demand that the Moroccan authority put an end to conditions that endanger the striking detainees’ health and fate. These practices undermine the judiciary’s independence, reform and democratic transformation and also violate national law and relevant international treaties. We also urge human rights organizations, world public opinion and pertinent United Nations institutions to support the detainees’ demands to be released, after having been detained for two years, and to protect their rights and hold Moroccan authorities accountable for the deterioration of the detainees’ health, especially that of Dr. Abadlah.
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Original article published on April 1, 2010
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Saja is a member of Tlaxcala, the international network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, translator and reviser are cited.
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