Complaints come from several NGOs. This Friday, four complaints were filed against Morocco before the United Nations Committee against Torture concerning four Saharawi human rights defenders “seriously tortured.”

The complaints were prepared in particular by the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), ACAT-France and the League for the Protection of Sahrawi Political Prisoners in Moroccan Prisons (LPPS).

Violation of international law

In a press release, the NGOs indicate that the four applicants, Mohamed Lamine Haddi, Hassan Dah, Abdelmoula El-Hafidi and Mohamed Bani, “have been detained for six to twelve years on the basis of confessions obtained under torture, in violation of the right international law and in the absence of a fair trial”.

These complaints, filed before the UN Committee against Torture on Thursday, “symbolize the hope of recognizing the torture suffered by the latter in violation of Morocco’s international commitments”, write the NGOs.

Thanks to the LPPS, the associations and lawyers were able to communicate with their families, in particular during the trip of an international delegation to Rabat in May.

The NGOs claim that “like many prisoners, the applicants were forced to sign confessions under torture, that is to say physical and psychological or even sexual violence intentionally applied by the Moroccan security forces”.

They indicate that they “continue to suffer, on a daily basis, acts of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment”, and that some of them have been kept in solitary confinement for years, “like Mohamed Lamine Haddi, placed in the ‘total isolation for five years now’.

Open dispute

The conflict in Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony and a vast desert territory rich in phosphates and with abundant waters, has pitted Morocco against the Sahrawi separatists of the Polisario Front, supported by Algeria, for decades.

While Rabat advocates a status of autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty, the Polisario calls for a self-determination referendum, planned by the UN when signing a ceasefire in 1991, but which never materialized.

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