Zefzafi said his son had symptoms of paralysis in his leg; the prison director forced him to sign a false report; and the prison had hid Zefzafi’s case of “arterial contraction” since March 2018.
Rabat – Following the statement in which prison administrators said that Nasser Zefzafi, a leader of the Hirak Rif protests in Al Hoceima, self-harmed while in prison “to create disorder,” his father denied the story and gave his own account.
At 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Zefzafi asked for medical care because of pain in one of his legs.
According to Zefzafi’s father, Ahmed Zefzafi, the Hirak activism leader had symptoms of hemiplegia, the paralysis of one side of the body, which prison staff did not mention in their statement on Sunday.
Nasser Zefzafi “felt pain in one of his legs before it began to become like symptoms of hemiplegia since he could not move or feel the right side of his body,” Ahmed Zefzafi wrote on his Facebook page on Monday, reporting what his son told him in a phone call.
“He then asked prison guards to notify the prison director to bring a doctor.”
The prison administration said that Zefzafi “threw the treatment tools and deliberately hurt himself by hitting his hand against the edge of a desk and the wall” when a nurse began to treat him.
But according to Ahmed Zefzafi, a “guard” came in with “a bottle of rubbing alcohol in his hand to rub it over his body.”
Zefzafi’s son was protesting the neglect of his health because the prison guards did not bring in a nurse or doctor.
The prison administration said that Zefzafi committed “acts in violation of the law with the intent of causing disorder and chaos” because many Hirak Rif detainees “refused to return to their cells.”
Zefzafi’s father explained that the detainees were showing solidarity with the Hirak Rif leader, declaring that they would not return to their cells unless a doctor came.
The doctor came, Ahmed Zefzafi continued, and after checking him, asked to immediately transfer Nasser Zefzafi to the emergency room.
“After the diagnosis, my son found out that the prison administration had kept information about his health status hidden since March 1, 2018, when he was first diagnosed with a stroke and hemiplegia,” Zefzafi’s father wrote.
It was only on January 26, 2019, that the prison administration told Zefzafi that “MRI tests for the past year revealed he had arterial contraction on the right side of the head,” he added, expressing his surprise.
Nasser Zefzafi said he had never before suffered atrial contractions. The jailed activist said he suspected that the condition was “due to violence he suffered on the day of his arrest as his head was banged against the wall in his house … and his head was hit with iron cuffs while being handcuffed.”
The violence did not end here. According to Ahmed Zefzafi’s Facebook post, the prison director mocked Zefzafi’s health status when he was transferred to the hospital. The director said “[Zefzafi] was wrong when he got sick on Saturday” and asked the guards to “get him out of his face.” The director said that he “had family obligations and was not fully available to follow Zefzafi alone.”
Zefzafi “protested the disgraceful behavior which he deemed torture and psychological violence … an insult to a person in a situation needing” treatment and not degradation of dignity, reads his father’s post.
Nasser Zefzafi pointed out that the prison director forced him to sign a record acknowledging he broke office supply items in a state of anger－an admittance that the Hirak leader “compeletely denied” and deemed “false and groundless.”
Zefzafi’s father called on the prison authorities to publish video footage of the incident to inform the public of the truth.
He also requested the prison administration to “urgently” show him his son’s medical file.
Prison denies withholding test results
In a statement published today, the prison administration said that Zefzafi had a number of medical tests about a year ago, including an MRI and an electroencephalogram, a test that evaluates electrical activity in the brain.
The tests revealed that Zefzafi had “a slight congenital defect,” according to the treating physician, Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) reported.
The statement added that Zefzafi “was then notified of the results, in accordance with the ethics of the medical profession” and was given “the appropriate therapeutic prescription.”
The prison administration denied that it hid the tests’ results from Nasser Zefzafi, calling Ahmed Zefzafi’s post “false allegations” to mislead the public.
“The tests’ result have nothing to do with the conditions of the prisoner’s arrest.”
The medical tests that Zefzafi had on Saturday, said the administration, gave the same results, a congenital defect. “The treating physician requested to perform additional examination to identify more precisely the nature of the congenital defect.”
“The prisoner was given a new medical appointment for two months later and was provided with a prescription.”
If Zefzafi had “hemiplegia resulting from a stroke,” the administration stressed, he would not be able “to remove his clothes and break the desk which he hit with his hand, as recorded by a security camera.”