London 2nd December : The London Support Committee for Ali Aarrass at the Spanish Embassy

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Picture : The appeal to the Spanish Ambassador handed in by Fatima Ali and Naima Bouteldja of Red Rag Productions, Professor Penny Green of the International State Crimes Initiative at Kings College London and Liz Fekete, Executive Director of the Institute of Race Relations.

3 December 2010

The London Support Committee to Stop the Extradition of Ali Aarrass would like to thank the fifty-six people which, at very short notice, signed its urgent appeal to stop the extradition of Ali Aarrass, a dual Belgian-Moroccan national, from Spain to Morocco.

A delegation from the London Support Committee handed the appeal in to the Spanish Embassy on 2nd December, the same day we heard the news that the UN Human Rights Commissioner had approved an interim measure to suspend Ali’s extradition pending an examination of his case.

On 2 December, Farida Aarrass, sister to Ali Aarrass, sent the following message to the London Support Committee

‘I would like to express my gratitude for the solidarity you have shown towards my brother. Your support is the breath which he breathes; you have become his voice, a voice that others have tried to suppress for far too long. For me, you are extraordinary and wonderful people because you are demonstrating through your support and your help, the thirst for justice that burns within yourselves. And I would say that this is the most beautiful proof of support that we have received since the unjust detention that Ali has suffered over the last two and half years.

I would like to reiterate a few points about my brother’s case.

*My brother, Ali is innocent – unless they consider that the investigation by the Spanish authorities (which lasted over two years) and the fact that the internationally renowned Judge, Baltazar Garson dismissed his case, are wrong.

*If they send Ali to Morocco to be tortured, the Spanish authorities will violate Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which Spain is a signatory of

*Ali is a European citizen born in Spain who has lived in Belgium and is a citizen of Belgium. The authorities want to deport him to Morocco despite the fact he has never lived there and knows nothing about life there at all.

*Belgian-Moroccan dual nationals feel no sense of security anywhere because as soon as they have left Belgium, no consular assistance is provided to them.

Farida Aarrass also passed on a message from Ali Aarrass, a message he insisted be passed on so that you would know his thoughts from his cell at the prison complex of Botafuegos in Algeciras.

‘Today, Friday 26 November 2010, while my wife has been telling me of all the things you are doing to help me, I have decided with immediate effect, to start a new hunger strike – my third one. I have taken this decision so that you will not be left alone. It is the only way I can carry on this struggle at your side. To starve myself! Even though during the previous hunger strikes, little importance was given to this form of protest.
One thing appears to me more obvious than ever: if someone is called Ali, and does all he can to prove his innocence, the stain of guilt seems to be ingrained within the minds of those who govern us, through a simple bias against this name.
I am however encouraged by the hope that reaches me through your voice, the hope that it is not too late and that the judgments will be overturned.’

Latest news
The latest news from Algeciras is that Ali has refused to stop the hunger strike he started on Friday 26 November 2010. He says: ‘I have been in arbitrary detention for far too long, I’m not asking Spanish justice to have compassion for me; but I have been deprived of my freedom for two years, and each day that passes, each hour, each minute have become unbearable to me. I am not going to end my hunger strike until justice is given back to me. My freedom is my due.

For further information on Ali Aarrass please go to www.freeali.eu

You can contact the London Support Committee to Stop the Extradition of Ali Aarrass via londonaliaarrass@gmail.com

THE APPEAL and SIGNATORIES :

Stop the Extradition of Ali Aarrass
London Support Committee
Spanish Ambassador
Mr Carlos Casajuana
39 Chesham Place
London
SW1X 8SB
2 December 2010
Your Excellency,
We write to you on a matter of great urgency, to express our concern that the forced removal of
Ali Aarrass, a dual Belgian-Moroccan national, from Spain to Morocco, is imminent.
We are sure that you are already well aware that the case is the subject of an Urgent Action
Alert by Amnesty International which, following the decision of the Spanish Council of Ministers
on 19 November to approve Morocco’s extradition request, warned that Ali Aarrass is at grave risk
of torture and other ill-treatment, and of an unfair trial. In Document EUR41/004/2010 AI points
out that the Spanish National Criminal Court closed its investigation against Ali Aarrass in March
2009 on the basis of lack of evidence. It also states that while Ali Aarrass is accused by the
Moroccan government of association with a terrorist network dubbed the ‘Belliraj cell’, a number
of men from this cell who subsequently faced prosecution were reportedly tortured by the
Moroccan intelligence services (Directorate for the Surveillance of the Territory) during incommu-
nicado detention. Furthermore, the convictions of these men on appeal were marred by procedural
irregularities and unexamined claims of torture and other ill-treatment.
We would like to add a few points to the issues already raised with the Spanish government by
Amnesty International.
Spain has a well-earned reputation as a defender of human rights and has a deep knowledge
about the routine denial of human rights in Morocco. It is this that makes the decision to extra-
dite Ali Aarrass all the more shocking. The Spanish government, more than any other government
in Europe, has knowledge of the routine practice of torture by the Moroccan intelligence services.
We also write on the basis of our own knowledge of the torture practices of the Moroccan
regime and the dishonour of our own British government in colluding with those practices – and
in a bid to halt Spain from facing the same dishonour. Amongst those signing this plea to stop
the extradition of Ali Aarrass are lawyers, who have acted for torture victims. It is to the lasting
shame of this country that our intelligence services stand accused of colluding with the Moroccan
authorities in Binyam Mohamed’s case. It is now common knowledge that the Moroccans for
eighteen months slashed the most intimate parts of Binyam Mohamed’s body with razors, burned
him with boiling liquids, stretched his limbs causing unimaginable agony, and bombarded him
with ferocious sound.
As already pointed out, no case against Ali Aarrass – a citizen of Europe – on terrorism-related
charges has even been mounted in Spain. But if there is new evidence, we call on the Spanish
government to end his administrative detention in Algeciras and immediately bring him to trial
in Spain, affording him the same rights as any other European citizen.
We urge you to protect the honour of Spain – and to avoid the risk of its collusion with tor-
ture – by making representations to prevent what we believe would be a grave miscarriage of jus-
tice.
Yours
Jeremy Corbyn, MP
Jean Lambert, MEP
Baroness Sarah Ludford, MEP
Dr Diego Acosta Arcarazo (Lecturer in Law, University of Sheffield)
Navtej Ahluwalia (human rights barrister, Garden Court Chambers)
Fatima Ali (Red Rag Productions)
Gemma Atkinson, Director/Producer Fat Rat Films
Dr Frank Arnold
John Beckley (human rights barrister, Garden Court Chambers)
Dr. Penny Bernstock (University of East London)
Naima Bouteldja (Director, Red Rag Productions)
Lee Bridges, Emeritus Professor, School of Law, University of Warwick
Jonathan Burnett
Tony Bunyan (Statewatch)
Gareth Dale (Senior Lecturer in Politics, Brunel University)
Liz Davies (barrister)
Nadine El-Enany (Lecturer in Law, Brunel University)
Liz Fekete (Head of European Research, Institute of Race Relations)
Nuno Ferreira (Lecturer in Law, School of Law, Univerisity of Manchester)
Dr Myria Georgiou (Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics)
Fred Grace, Director/Producer, Fat Rat Films
Adriana Giunta (PT Lecturer, Brunel Law School)
Anne Gray (Campaign Against Criminalising Communities)
Dr. Penny Green (Professor of Law and Criminology, Kings College London)
Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
John Hendy (Queen’s Counsel)
Dr. Helen M. Hintjens (Senior Lecturer in Development and Social Justice, International Institute
of Social Studies (The Hague)
Michael House (human rights barrister, Garden Court Chambers)
Martha K. Huggins, Professor of Human Relations, Tulane University, USA
Stephen Knafler QC (human rights barrister, Garden Court Chambers)
Ian Macdonald (Queen’s Counsel)
Thomas MacManus, Solicitor (Ireland) & Attorney-at-Law (New York)
Saleh Mamon (Campaign Against Criminalising Communities)
Susan Marks, Professor of International Law, London School of Economics
Corinna Mullin, London Guantanamo Committee
Sonali Naik(human rights barrister, Garden Court Chambers)
Ali Fathollah-Nejad (Graduate Teaching Associate, School of Oriental and African Studies,
University of London)
Lord Herman Ouseley
Scott Poynting (Professor in Sociology, Manchester Metropolitan University)
Asim Qureshi (Executive Director, Cageprisoners)
Fizza Qureshi
Mr Mizanur Rahman (Inspire)
Robin Richardson (Director, Insted Consultancy)
Sadat Sayeed (human rights barrister, Garden Court Chambers)
Marina Sergides (human rights barrister, Garden Court Chambers)
Estella Schmid (Campaign Against Criminalising Communities)
Dr Victoria Sentas (School of Law, King’s College London)
Phil Shiner (Public Interest Lawyers)
Anne Singh (solicitor)
Mark Symes (human rights barrister, Garden Court Chambers)
Robin Virgin (Pluto Press)
Dr Tony Ward, Reader in Law, University of Hull
Pete Weatherby (human rights barrister, Garden Court Chambers)
Frances Webber (immigration and human rights lawyer)
Dr Milly Williamson (Senior Lecturer in Film and Television, School of Arts, Brunel University)
Professor Robert Wintemute, School of Law, King’s College London
Dr Alexandra Xanthaki (Reader in Law and Deputy Head (Programmes) Brunel Law School, Brunel
University)
BM Box 8784, London WC1N 3XX. Tel: 07879 687 390. Email: londonaliaarrass@gmail.com

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