Rabat - The Moroccan Prisons Observatory (OMP), a NGO defending the rights of prisoners, has expressed concern over the health of the Hirak protesters detained in Casablanca and other detention centers, who it says are currently on a hunger strike.
Rabat – The Moroccan Prisons Observatory (OMP), a NGO defending the rights of prisoners, has expressed concern over the health of the Hirak protesters detained in Casablanca and other detention centers, who it says are currently on a hunger strike.
However, the penitentiary administration has denied the existence of such a strike.
In a statement posted on the group’s Facebook page Monday, the Casablanca-based NGO said it is “worried” about the situation of detainees, especially those incarcerated in Casablanca and those who were transferred to centers in Fez, Taza, and Taourirt.
“Facing this worrying situation and what it could lead to in terms of health, psychological, and life-threatening consequences for the strikers,” said the NGO, “we advise all administrative, judiciary or security officials against attempts to put any kind of pressure or threats against strikers.”
The NGO demanded that the General Delegation for Penitentiary Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR), and particularly the administration of the Casablanca Oukacha prison where key Hirak activists are detained, “to provide daily health control and follow-up and watch over their physical and mental safety.”
The Observatory said the Penitentiary Administration must guarantee the detainees the right to get medical treatment.
While the OMP did not mention the number of detainees undertaking the hunger strike, a total of 216 Hirak protesters currently behind bars, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Among these, 47 are in Casablanca awaiting trial, while 169 have either already been sentenced or are awaiting trial in Al Hoceima.
Human rights activists, members of the families of the detainees, and media outlets maintain that the health of a number of detainees in Casablanca on hunger strike has deteriorated, including Rabi El Ablak, who was hospitalized in late June.
The Penitentiary Administration nonetheless denied the news of the current hunger strike. DGAPR said last week in a release that the health situation of detainees is “normal” and that there is no hunger strike in Oukacha prison.