Antécédents de l'affaire: Ali Salem Tamek
Le 14 février 2016, le défenseur des droits humains et militant sahraoui Ali Salem Tamek a entamé une grève de la faim illimitée dans les bureaux de l'Association marocaine des droits de l'Homme à Assa.
Il a entamé une grève de la faim pour protester contre le refus des autorités marocaines de l'inscrire dans l'une des universités marocaines depuis 2007, ce qui viole son droit à l'éducation. Suite à une enquête de la délégation de l'UE au Maroc, un accord a été trouvé avec le doyen de la faculté de droit à Agadir et le président de l'université d'Ibn Zuhr, afin de garantir son inscription aux cours de l'année 2016-2017. Ali a mis fin à sa grève de la faim le 20 février 2016.
Ali Salem Tamek est un éminent défenseur des droits humains et membre fondateur de la section de Forum pour la vérité et la justice au Sahara Occidental, une organisation qui milite pour les droits des victimes et des familles de victimes de torture, disparitions et autres formes d'exactions. Il est également premier vice-président du Collectif sahraoui des défenseur-ses des droits humains (CODESA). Il est régulièrement harcelé et persécuté lorsqu'il tente de surveiller et dénoncer les abus commis par les autorités marocaines.
On 14 February 2016, Saharawi human rights defender and activist Ali Salem Tamek started an open-ended hunger strike at the Moroccan Association for Human Rights branch office in Assa. He began the hunger strike to protest the Moroccan authorities failure to accept his registration in one of the universities in Morocco since 2007, in violation of his right to an education.
The Moroccan authorities have denied Ali Salem the right to an education since 2007 without an official reason, during which time Ali Salem has undertaken a number of hunger strikes to protest against the discrimination. It appears that the authorities refusal to accept his registration is a result of his work protecting the rights of the Saharawi people and advocating self-determination for Western Sahara. On 6 February 2016, he began a daily 2-hour protest at the main square in Assa city, followed by a one-day hunger strike on 11 February, before deciding to begin this most recent hunger strike on 14 February.
Human rights defender Ali Salem has been jailed five times and has staged numerous hunger strikes whilst in prison, where he has been subjected to torture and ill-treatment. In 2002, he was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment and a fine of 10,000DH for "undermining the internal security of the State". In 2003 he came close to death before being released in a royal pardon. He was sentenced to 8 months in prison in December 2005 for public order offenses following riots repressed violently in May 2005, where he was released in October 2005. In addition, there have been a number of politically motivated instances of harassment and threats to his life and family.
Front Line welcomes the release (albeit on bail) of three human rights defenders from Western Sahara on 14 April 2011. They are Ali Salem Tamek, first Vice-President of the Sahrawi Collective of Human Rights Defenders (CODESA); Brahim Dahane, President of the Sahrawi Association of Victims of Grave Violations of Human Rights (ASVDH); Ahmad Anasiri, General Secretary of the Sahrawi Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in Smara.
The three defenders were arrested along with four others on 8 October 2009 and have been detained since that date. The defenders have undertaken eight hunger strikes in protest against their detention and alleged deprivation of their right to a fair trial. Three of the defenders had intended to start a ninth hunger strike on 14 April.
Front Line believes that the arrest of these seven human rights defenders was directly related to their work in the defence of human rights, particularly their work for various human rights organisations in Western Sahara, including CODESA, ASVDH, the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH), the Forum for the Protection of Sahrawi Children, the Action Committee Against Torture in Dakhla/Western Sahara, and the Sahrawi Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in Smara.
A Front Line contact in Western Sahara sends this report on the latest developments in the trial of imprisoned Saharawi human rights defenders Ali Salem Tamek, Brahim Dahane and Ahmad Nasiri, who have announced a new hunger strike in protest at their ongoing imprisonment and the deferral of their trial to an unspecified date.
"The Saharawi Human Rights Defenders and prisoners of conscience - Ali Salem Tamek, Brahim Dahane and Ahmad Nasiri - have started an open hunger strike on Tuesday 22 Feb 2011, in Casablanca prison. They demand their right to a fair trial or their unconditional release.
This is their 6th hunger strike since their arrest and the third one in Casablanca prison after they were transferred from Salé prison. Their trial has been continuously postponed.
The three Saharawi political prisoners are still under arrest without any verdict. Ever since their first hunger strike – which lasted 41 days – they’ve been demanding their right for a fair trial or to be unconditionally released. The 41 days of hunger strike were ended by an indirect dialogue with the Moroccan authorities, resulting in an improvement of their situation inside the prison (Salé prison), referral of the case from a military to a civilian court and the provisional release of Saleh Lebaihi, Yahdih Ettarrouzi and Rachid Sghayar.
But it didn’t take long for the Moroccan authorities to resume punishing the Sahrawi prisoners of conscience, denying them their basic rights in Casablanca prison, mobilising Moroccan lawyers and citizens to physically and verbally assault the Saharawi detainees, their families, the international observers and journalists throughout the five sessions of their trial in Casablanca court.
The follow-up committee of the open hunger strike of the Saharawi human rights defenders under arrest in Casablanca prison (Okacha prison)/Morocco, presents this briefing as a background to the prisoners’ hunger strike in the coming days. The committee will be reporting on the prisoners’ health which is weak as a result of previous abductions, torture and several politically motivated incarcerations related to the prisoners’ position on the Western Sahara issue and their human rights activities".
The trial of Sahrawi human rights defenders Mr Ali Salem Tamek, Mr Brahim Dahane and Mr Ahmad Anasiri who have been held in pre-trial detention since October 2010 and the four other detainees who had been released on provisional bail Mr Yahdih Ettarrouzi, Mr Rachid Sghayar, Mr Saleh Lebayhi and Ms Idagja Lachgare reconvened on Friday 5th November and was almost immediately postponed until 17 December amid further scenes of violence and intimidation.
The earlier trial had been marked the presence of large numbers of pro Moroccan supporters in the courtroom who chanted nationalist slogans and harassed and intimidated the defence lawyers, the defendants and international observers.
On Friday 05 November as the trial reconvened the Security Services again allowed a large crowd to enter the courtroom so that there was no room for the international observers.
The Front Line observer refused to sit beside the defendants and the defence team and asked the Security Services to provide a special space for the international observers which included representatives from Sweden, Britain, France and Spain. This was eventually provided.
As the trial got under way the people in the public gallery began chanting the Moroccan national anthem – the “Sahara is Moroccan and “Traitors Traitors”.
When the four defendants who had been previously been released on provisional liberty and the defence lawyers arrived the crowd tried to attack them
After the judge arrived the three defendants, who had been brought from the prison Ali Salem Tamek, Brahim Dahane and Ahmad Anasiri , began to shout “No Alternative - No Alternative “
The judge finally left the court because of the noise from the public gallery at which point the crowd started to attack the Sahrawi human rights defenders beating them and shouting insults. In the resulting melée the correspondent from Spanish television station 8TV was severely beaten and had to be rushed to hospital.
There was also an attempt to assault activists from Sweden, Spain, Britain and France, including the Front Line representative.
The Front Line representative demanded urgent protection from the security services for the international observers and they were eventually able to leave the court under police protection. As they left the court the representatives of Front Line, the International Commission of Jurists and the British Bar Association were subjected to a flood of insults as they made their way though the streets from the court.
The hearing was postponed until 17 December 2010
On 21 September 2010, the investigating judge of a Moroccan Military Court ordered that the court is incompetent to take jurisdiction over the case of detained human rights defenders Ali Salem Tamek, Brahim Dahane and Ahmad Anasiri. The judge has referred the case back to the Casablanca Penal Court. Nevertheless, the human rights defenders remain in detention.
Ali Salem Tamek, Brahim Dahane and Ahmad Anasiri have been held in detention without charge since 8 October 2009, when they were arrested along with four other human rights defenders at Mohamed V Airport in Casablanca. The other human rights defenders have since been released. Ali Salem Tamek, Brahim Dahane and Ahmad Anasiri last week staged a two-day hunger strike in protest at the failure of the Moroccan authorities to process their case.
Further to the Urgent Action sent on 9 October 2009 and subsequent updates, Front Line has received the following new information with regard to imprisoned human rights defenders Mr Yadih Ettarrouzi, Mr Rachid Sghayar and Mr Saleh Lebayhi in Western Sahara.
Front line welcomes the release on 18 May 2010 of three Saharawi human rights defenders: Mr Yahdih Ettarrouzi, aged 29, a member of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH); Mr Rachid Sghayar, aged 37, a member of the Action Committee Against Torture in Dakhla/Western Sahara and Mr Saleh Lebayhi, aged 37, the President of the Forum for the Protection of Saharawi Children and the head of the Samara branch of AMDH.
The release of the three defenders follows a decision, on 18 May 2010, by the court of appeal in Sale to accept the appeal lodged by the defence team against the order by the military court in Rabat to detain the three defenders. The same court rejected the appeal to release three other defenders in the same case who remain in detention at Sale military prison, namely: Mr Ali Salem Tamek, the Vice-President of the Saharawi Collective of Human Rights Defenders (CODESA); Mr Brahim Dahane, the President of the Saharawi Association of Victims of Grave Violations of Human Rights (ASVDH); Mr Ahmad Anasiri, the General Secretary of the Saharawi Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in Smara. Ms Idagja Lachgare, the seventh defender in the same case was released on 28 January 2010.
The seven defenders, who were arrested on 8 October 2009 at Mohamed V Airport in Casablanca, are likely to be subjected to judicial prosecution before the military court on charges related to their human rights activities including the right to freedom of self determination.
On 28 January 2010, Saharawi human rights defender Dagja Lachgar was temporarily released following three months and twenty days in detention in Sale military prison, Morocco. Human rights defender Ali Salem Tamek, Brahim Dahane, Ahmad Anasiri, Yahdih Ettarrouzi, Saleh Lebayhi, and Rachid Sghayar, who remain in detention in Sale prison, have declared that they will commence a 48-hour hunger strike on 4 February 2009, in protest against the ill-treatment that they are subjected to in detention.
Dagja Lachgar was originally arrested on 8 October 2009 at Mohamed V Airport in Casablanca, Morocco, along with six human rights defenders from Western Sahara. The six defenders are; Ali Salem Tamek, first Vice-President of the Saharawi Collective of Human Rights Defenders (CODESA); Brahim Dahane, President of the Sahrawi Association of Victims of Grave Violations of Human Rights (ASVDH); Ahmad Anasiri, General Secretary of the Saharawi Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in Smara; Yahdih Ettarrouzi; Saleh Lebayhi, President of the Forum for the Protection of Saharawi Children; and Rachid Sghayar.
Further to the Front Line Urgent Appeal sent on 9 October 2009, Front Line has received the following information regarding the case of seven imprisoned Western Saharan human rights defenders in arbitrary detention.
On 13 April 2010, seven lawyers issued a statement on the case of seven well-known Sahrawi human rights defenders and the deteriorating health conditions of six of them who are on a hunger strike in Sale prison since 18 March 2010 in a protest against their continued detention without charge since their arrest on on 8 October 2009, and violations of their rights as prisoners of conscience.
The seven Human rights defenders are: Mr Ali Salem Tamek, the Vice-President of the Saharawi Collective of Human Rights Defenders (CODESA); Mr Brahim Dahane, the President of the Saharawi Association of Victims of Grave Violations of Human Rights (ASVDH); Mr Ahmad Anasiri, the General Secretary of the Saharawi Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in Smara; Mr Yahdih Ettarrouzi, a member of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH); Mr Rachid Sghayar, a member of the Action Committee Against Torture in Dakhla/Western Sahara; Mr Saleh Lebayhi is the President of the Forum for the Protection of Saharawi Children and the head of the Samara branch of AMDH, and Ms Idagja Lachgare, a member of the executive office of ASVDH. Idagja Lachgare is at present under conditional release since 28 January 2010, apparently due to a deterioration in her health conditions, having spent three months and twenty days in detention. The other six human rights defenders remain in in Sale military prison.
In their statement, the lawyers said that four of them had met with the investigatory judge of the military court of Rabat on 12 April 2010, and that the judge had informed them that the investigation concerning the 6 hunger strikers and Idagja Lachgare is still ongoing. After the meeting with the investigatory judge, the lawyers said that they had visited the group of detainees in the local prison of Salé, where the prisoners were presented to them in wheelchairs, with the exception of one who walked in.
The lawyers stated further that: “we learned that Saleh Lebaihi had also started a hunger strike, in spite of his poor health. The visit to the prisoners has allowed us to note the severe conditions of the detainees’ health, leading to weight loss, loss of consciousness, headaches and physical pain. On the other hand, while the prisoners retain good morale, remain attached to life due to the righteousness of their cause and are confident towards the future, they do detest the oblivion and indifference surrounding their current situation, especially since no government official has made the effort to see them or talk to them since our visit and after 26 days of hunger strike. According to them, the press as well as the majority of political and human rights activists in the world treat them with the same indifference. We have tried to get them to renounce or even temporarily suspend their hunger strike, but to no avail”.
In their statement, the lawyers also sought to draw public attention to the grave health situation of the detainees who continue their hunger strike, and appealed to "all concerned with this case at the level of prison administrations, at the level of justice and even at the political decision-making level,...to urgently intervene to save the lives of the hunger strikers". The lawyers called upon the public, the media, international human rights organizations and human rights activists to monitor the situation closely and to help the detainees realise their demand for immediate release or to be tried promptly and fairly.
Front Line was informed today that three lawyers were allowed for the first time to visit three of seven human rights defenders who are detained in prison in Sella city, Morocco. The defenders who met their lawyers were; Mr. Brahim Dahane, Mr. Yahdih Ettarrouzi and Mr. Rachid Sghayar. The lawyers hope that they will be permitted today or tomorrow to meet with the four other defenders, namely; Mr Ali Salem Tamek, Mr Ahmad Anasiri, Mr Saleh Lebayhi, and Ms. Dagja Lachgar.
The seven defenders were arrested at Mohammad IV Airport in Casablanca, Morocco on 8 October 2009. Front Line reported its concern about the arrest of the defenders on 9 October. The defenders work for various human rights organisations in Western Sahara, including the Sahrawi Collective of Human Rights Defenders (CODESA), the Sahrawi Association of Victims of Grave Violations of Human Rights (ASVDH), the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH), the Forum for the Protection of Sahrawi Children, the Action Committee Against Torture in Dakhla/Western Sahara, and the Sahrawi Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in Smara.
The families of the seven defenders are still waiting for permits to visit their relatives for the first time since their arrest. According to the families, the police officially informed them about the arrest on Monday 12 October, four days after the arrest. Some of the families were called by the police, others by the Office of the Representative of the King.
On 15 October, by going to the Court of Appeal to try to get some information, lawyers for the seven defenders found out that the defenders had recently appeared in front of the prosecution office at the Court of Appeal in Casablanca, which ruled that the case was not under its jurisdiction. The seven defenders were brought the same day before the general military prosecution in Rabat, Morocco, which ordered their detention in a prison in Sella city to wait for trial before the military court in Rabat. Dagja Lachgar is currently detained in a cell in the women's section while the six male defenders were put in three groups of two in the men's section.
According to sources, the seven defenders are accused of threatening national security and of making public statements against the Moroccan authorities. Military courts hold their hearings in private, and have previously tried human rights defenders on similar charges. For example, in 1996 a military court sentenced eight Sahrawi activists to 20 years in prison. The sentence was changed to one year but they were eventually released after one year and three months. In 1991, the same courts sentenced six Sahrawi activists to 20 years in prison but they were released after three years and six months. In 1980, the military court sentenced Sidi Mohammed Dadach to death but the sentence was changed to life imprisonment before he was released in 2001.
It is thought that the arrest of the seven human rights defenders is linked to the visits they had made to Sahrawi refugee camps in Tindouf in south-west Algeria, a country which is in political conflict with Morocco, including on the issue of Western Sahara. The seven defenders have allegedly been the subject of a defamation campaign by media and political groups loyal to the Moroccan authorities.
Front line calls again for the release of the seven human rights defenders since it believes that their detention and judicial persecution is directly related to their work in the defence of human rights, including the right to self determination in Western Sahara. Front Line fears that the seven defenders could be subjected to an unfair trial before the military court which could impose harsh sentences. . Front Line is seriously concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of the Mr. Brahim Dahane, Mr. Yahdih Ettarrouzi, Mr. Rachid Sghayar, Mr Ali Salem Tamek, Mr Ahmad Anasiri, Mr Saleh Lebayhi, and Ms. Dagja Lachgar.
On 8 October 2009, seven human rights defenders from Western Sahara were arrested at Mohamed V Airport in Casablanca, Morocco, allegedly by Moroccan security agents. The group of arrested defenders include Ali Salem Tamek, first Vice-President of the Saharawi Collective of Human Rights Defenders (CODESA); Brahim Dahane, President of the Sahrawi Association of Victims of Grave Violations of Human Rights (ASVDH); Ahmad Anasiri, General Secretary of the Saharawi Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in Smara; Yahdih Ettarrouzi; Saleh Lebayhi, President of the Forum for the Protection of Saharawi Children; Dagja Lachgar, and Rachid Sghayar. The seven defenders work for various human rights organisations in Western Sahara, including CODESA, ASVDH, the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH), the Forum for the Protection of Saharawi Children, the Action Committee Against Torture in Dakhla/Western Sahara, and the Saharawi Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in Smara. They had been travelling from Alhawari Boumedyan Airport in Algeria. Their whereabouts are unknown.
At about 2.00pm on 8 October 2009, the aforementioned human rights defenders, travelling from Algeria on flight number AT561, were arrested immediately after their plane had landed in Mohamed V Airport. They were reportedly taken from the main door of the plane by Moroccan security agents and taken by car to an unknown location. Another group of human rights defenders reported a high police presence at the airport as they waited for several hours for their colleagues without success. It is thought that the arrest of the seven human rights defenders may be linked to the visits they had made to Sahrawi refugee camps in south-west Algeria during their stay abroad.
Front Line believes that the arrest of these seven human rights defenders is directly related to their work in the defence of human rights, particularly in Morrocan-administered Western Sahara. Front Line is seriously concerned for their physical and psychological integrity.