STRASBOURG – The Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, said the EU is closely monitoring the situation of Saharawi political prisoners of the Gdeim Izik group in Moroccan prisons, stressing that the EU has regularly expressed its "concern over alleged cases of ill-treatment and impunity" undergone by these detainees.
Questioned in the European Parliament (EP) about the situation of four Saharawi prisoners of the Gdeim Izik group, sentenced in 2013 to a 20-year capital sentence and subjected to continual periods of isolation and ill-treatment, Ms Mogherini, also EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said the EU is closely monitoring the situation of Saharawi detainees in Moroccan prisons.
The four Saharawi detainees, Sidi Abdallah Abbahah, Mohamed Boural, Mohamed Lamin Haddi and El Bachir Khadda are political prisoners belonging to the group "Gdeim Izik", who were sentenced in 2013 to 20-year sentences.
They were moved between different Moroccan prisons and are now in Tiflet where they are subjected to torture and ill-treatment, according to the question addressed to Mrs. Mogherini.
The four prisoners were also subjected to periods of constant isolation, having no human contact and deprived of their rights. Since September 16, 2017, these prisoners are confined to total isolation without access to newspapers, books, radio or television.
"The four Saharawi prisoners are constantly insulted and threatened by other people, including prison guards," it was warned.
At the same time, MEPs questioned the "reason" that allowed Morocco to remain safe from condemnation by the EU, while it continues to subject Saharawi prisoners to abusive practices that violate the most basic human rights.
"The UN Committee against Torture has had to denounce these cases of torture and violations of international law", it was recalled.
In her written response, Ms. Mogherini assured that the monitoring of the situation of Saharawi detainees in Moroccan prisons includes "the presence of the EU delegation in Rabat as an observer in civil proceedings", adding that representatives of the EU delegation meet regularly with the National Council for Human Rights to improve the health and detention conditions of the prisoners of the Gdeim Izik group ".
Affirming that meetings were also held with civil society organizations, particularly with the Saharawi Association to denounce serious violations of human rights, Ms. Mogherini stressed that "democracy and respect for human rights are essential components of the EU's foreign policy and its dialogue with partner countries, notably Morocco ".
In this context, the head of European diplomacy said that "the EU regularly expresses its concerns about cases of ill-treatment and impunity …"
Recalling that one of the main objectives of European human rights policy is "the prevention and elimination of all forms of torture and ill-treatment in the world", the High EU representative reiterated, on occasion, "the Union's support for the efforts of the UN Secretary-General to achieve a just political solution (…), guaranteeing the right to self-determination of the people of Western Sahara, within the framework of the principles and objectives of the Charter of the United Nations ".
Western Sahara, the last colony in Africa, has been inscribed since 1966 on the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories, thus eligible for the application of UN General Assembly Resolution 1514, granting the granting of Independence of Colonized Countries and Peoples