In 2010, Ali Aarrass, a Belgian-Moroccan national, was forcibly returned to Morocco from Spain, where he had been supporting his ageing father. The extradition took place despite warnings from the UN Human Rights Committee and Amnesty International that doing so would put the father-of-one at risk.
Ali has been detained ever since. For the first 12 days he was held incommunicado and tortured in a secret detention centre: he was beaten on the soles of his feet, given electric shocks to his testicles, suspended from his wrists, and burnt with cigarettes.
In November 2011, Ali was convicted of illegal use of weapons and participation in a group intending to commit acts of terrorism, solely on the basis of a ‘confession’ extracted under torture. In September 2012 the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and an independent forensic doctor visited Ali in detention and confirmed his torture claims.
The Moroccan authorities have repeatedly failed to investigate Ali’s assertions that he was held incommunicado and tortured.
How you can help
1) Call on the Minister of Justice and Liberties in Morocco to:
• Implement the decision of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention calling for the immediate release of Ali Aarrass.
• Investigate reports that he was tortured or otherwise ill-treated.
• Introduce video-recording and make the presence of defence lawyers compulsory in pre-arraignment detention, as a safeguard against torture and other ill-treatment.
Address: Minister of Justice and Liberties El Mustapha Ramid, Ministère de la Justice et des Libertés, Place El Mamounia, BP 1015, Rabat, Morocco
2) Let Ali know that you are thinking of him and support his struggle for justice.
• Address: Ali Aarrass, Prison locale de Salé II, Salé, Morocco
• Preferred language: French, Spanish or English.
• Please do not send a religious card. It is ok to mention Amnesty and to include a return address if you wish.