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Morocco: Child tortured and detained in Western Sahara

On 15 May 2013, 17-year-old El Hussein Bah was jailed and allegedly tortured in Laayoune Civil Prison, Western Sahara.

El Hussein Bah along with five other Saharawis were reportedly arrested in their homes on 9 May 2013, in connection with a demonstration on 4 May 2013, calling for self-determination, a right outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and various other international human rights documents.

On Sunday 12 May 2013, the six detainees were charged with “violence against public officials”, “participating in an armed gathering”, “placing objects on a road obstructing traffic” and “damaging public property”, punishable with up to ten years of imprisonment according to Morocco’s Penal Code.

The investigative judge made an earlier decision to release El Hussein Bah on bail but the Crown Prosecutor overruled the decision.  Amnesty International fears that the decision to revoke his release is in retaliation for him reporting the torture he was subjected to while in police custody.

El Hussein Bah informed Amnesty International of various types of torture and intimidation which were inflicted on him.  These include a urine-soaked sponge being forced in his face by police officers, his trousers being pulled down while police officers threatened him with rape, and being forced to sign papers, including a “confession” he was not allowed to read.  He was also beaten and interrogated while he was suspended by his knees with his wrists tied over his legs, a position often referred to as the “roast chicken” position.  According to the information given, each of the six detainees suffered a similar fate.


Please write immediately in Arabic, French or Spanish or your own language.  Please send appeals before 27 June 2013 To:

Minister of Justice and Liberties

Mustafa Ramid           

Ministry of Justice and Liberties

Place El Mamounia – BP 1015

Rabat, Morocco

Fax: +212 537 73 47 25

Salutation: Your Excellency


Minister of Interior

Mohand Laenser         

Ministry of Interior

Quartier Administratif

Rabat, Morocco

Fax: + 212 537 76 68 61

Salutation: Your Excellency


National Council for Human Rights

President Driss El Yazami

CNDH, Place Achouhada – BP 1341. 10 001.

Rabat. Morocco


Fax: +212 537 73 29 27



Your Excellency

I am writing to express my concerns about the treatment of El Hussein Bah and the five other individuals detained with him following the demonstration on 4 May 2013, calling for self-determination.

I urge you to open a full, independent, and impartial investigation into allegations of torture and other ill-treatment of the detainees, and ensure that no confession obtained under torture is used in any proceedings.  Furthermore, I urge you to ensure that any officials responsible for abuse are brought to justice.

I implore you to ensure that the detainees are treated humanely, protected from further torture and ill-treatment, and have immediate access to all necessary medical care.

Finally, I implore you to ensure that 17-year-old El Hussein Bah is treated in accordance with Article 37(b) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child ratified by Morocco 20 years ago, and guarantee that the families of the detainees enjoy their full prison visiting rights.




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