Following the July 22 protest against the high cost of living and the increase in prices, which was violently repressed and disbursed by riot police, 6 activists from the February 20th Movement were arrested. Their names are: Samir Bradelly, Abderrahman Assal, Tarek Rouchdi, Youssef Oubella, Nour Essalam Kartachi, and Laïla Nassimi (Laila is on temporary release).
The prisoners are now « officially » accused of non-authorized assembly, insulting a public officer, assault and battery: accusations of guilt without evidence in order to conceal a political trial.
During their hearing before the judge on August 31, they confirmed that they were subjected to very serious physical and moral aggression. Through their eye-witness accounts, the prisoners took us back to a black era in Morocco’s history: a time of political trials, admissions of guilt signed under torture, rape with objects inserted into the anus, insults, humiliations, fingernails eyelashes pulled out…a history that would cause all proud Moroccans to blush with infinite shame. Present at this trial was the blogger, Larbi, who reports to us:
La preuve que les détenus ont subi des sévices physiques et psychi: un a été oblige de signerun pv s’engageant « a se retirer de
#feb20 « !
— Larbi.org (@Larbi_org) September 2, 2012
In front of their families in tears and the presence of all those flabbergasted by the testimonies, they gave a detailed account of their inhuman treatment from the moment of their arrests. Below is their story in an open letter addressed to the public at large, attesting to the details of what they experienced:
« After the protest that was repressed on July 22, 2012, which was intended to object to the high cost of living, increased prices, and political sentencing, we were kidnapped individually by ununiformed police. They hauled us away in a paddy wagon, blindfolded us, and began beating us with their fists, their feet, and their truncheons. Insults and humiliations were added on to all of this.
Once we got to the police station, they stripped us of all of our clothing and stuck hard objects into our anuses. They also ripped out our eyelashes, reports Nour Essalam Kartachi, in order to force us to cry, « long live the king. »
Samir Bradelly also reported this to the judge, reminding him of the videos taken in Syria, where the people held in prisons were forced to say, « long live Bashar. » Then during the interrogations, and to intimidate us, the police told us all the details of our lives before this point.
“After our refusal to sign the accusations, without having read them, they tried to tear off our fingernails with pliers,” describes Tarek Rouchdi. The police said to him “Mal Rabbek Kats7ab Rassek F l’Espagne ? Hmazal Ma Wsalna Lih» [a series of swear words and "Do you think you're in Spain? We're not even at that point yet."]
They refused to have our wounds cared for, and in particular those of Samir Bradelly who had a deep wound on his head that required several stitches. He requested medical help several times, but in vain. And realizing that he would have to spend the night in this condition, he had to stay awake without resting his head on the concrete floor in order to avoid an infection.
After a hunger strike, the police finally agreed to take us to a small local hospital. The most seriously wounded, Samir, was taken care of only with an antiseptic (Betadine). As for the others, the doctor did nothing more than ask our names without caring for our injuries.
But our saga wasn’t over yet. Once we arrived at the Oukacha prison, several prisoners were enlisted in order to provoke us, aggress us, and harass us.
As for Laila, she was let go temporarily. She constantly had pain in her back because of how she was beaten, she reported having been violently struck on her chest with a truncheon and brutally hit.
In conclusion, we:
- Reaffirm our commitment to all claims that led us to join the February 20th Movement in the first place.
- Demand our immediate and unconditional freedom.
- Affirm our unconditional solidarity with all prisoners of conscience.
- Acknowledge with gratitude, those who supported us or expressed solidarity with us
- Invite all free activists to remain faithful to and continue protesting on the streets, and to challenge this tightening noose of repression that is suffocating the masses in this country.
This account was collected and reported to Mamfakinch by activist Soumia El Marbouh. Text was translated from the French version by Jamila Waadalla.