Lettre à monsieur Guy Trouveroy, ambassadeur belge à Londres : 37 personnalités britanniques demandent une intervention immédiate de la Belgique pour Ali Aarrass


Friends of Ali Aarrass

London Support Committee


Guy Trouveroy

Ambassador of Belgium in the UK,

17, Grosvenor Crescent
London SW1X 7EE

15 October 2015

By email to London@diplobel.fed.be and by post

Your Excellency,

We are writing to ask you to convey to your government our grave concern about the condition of Ali Aarrass, the dual Belgian/ Moroccan national imprisoned in Salé II prison since his conviction in November 2011 on evidence obtained by torture.

On 25 August 2015 M. Aarrass embarked on hunger strike in protest against continued bullying, humiliation and mistreatment at the hands of prison staff. Since then, his situation has become even worse, with Amnesty International issuing an Urgent Action in respect of reports from his family that he was severely beaten on 29 September by several men, some in green uniforms, others in plain clothes, during a cell search.

M. Aarrass is calling for his release, two years after the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention called on the Moroccan authorities to release him immediately, following its conclusion that he had been convicted solely on the basis of “confessions” extracted under torture. He is also protesting against the significant delays in the investigation carried out by the judicial authorities into his torture allegations, as well as the Court of Cassation’s failure to make a decision in his case nearly three years after submitting his appeal against his conviction to the court.

You will be aware that in September 2014 the Belgian Court of Appeal rejected your government’s appeal against the High Court’s ruling that it was obliged to offer diplomatic assistance to M. Aarrass, as a Belgian national, since the Moroccan government was not a party to the Hague Convention which precludes the provision of protection to dual nationals against the authorities of their other nationality, and because of the fundamental human rights engaged by M. Aarrass’ case – protection from inhuman or degrading treatment or torture and the right to physical and psychological integrity. It is highly regrettable that your government appears to have taken no effective action to protect its national M. Aarrass since the Court of Appeal’s ruling, and has instead appealed the Court’s ruling, while allowing him to remain incarcerated in intolerable conditions (according to authoritative rulings from UN human rights bodies).

We urge your government to intervene to protect M. Aarrass from further ill-treatment, and to ensure that he is treated in accordance with humanitarian norms. This would of course be entirely without prejudice to your legal position that you are under no binding obligation to do so – a position maintained by the minister M. Reynders in August 2013 when, during M. Aarrass’ almost fatal hunger and thirst strike, he was prevailed on to intervene with the Moroccan authorities.

Yours sincerely,

Kate Allen, Director, Amnesty International (UK)

Smita Bajaria, Solicitor

Professor Gargi Bhattacharyya, University of East London

Professor Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC

Naima Bouteldja, Freelance journalist

Professor Bill Bowring, School of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London

Professor Emeritus Lee Bridges, School of Law, University of Warwick

Victoria Brittain, Author and journalist

Dr Eddie Bruce-Jones, School of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London

Louise Christian, Solicitor

Committee on the Administration of Justice, Belfast

Helen Curtis, Barrister

Liz Davies, Barrister

Liz Farrell, Solicitor

Liz Fekete, Director, Institute of Race Relations

Daniel Furner, Solicitor

Omar Geloo, Solicitor

Professor Avery Gordon, University of California Santa Barbara

Professor Penny Green, School of Law, Queen Mary University of London

Richard Harvey, Barrister

Trevor Hemmings, Researcher

Michael House, Barrister

Catriona Jarvis, former Judge Upper Tribunal

Professor Mark McGovern, Edge Hill University

Dr Thomas Macmanus, School of Law, Queen Mary University of London

Professor Philip Marfleet, University of East London

Piers Mostyn, Barrister

Terry Munyard, Barrister

Greg O’Ceallaigh, Barrister

Beth O’Reilly, Barrister

Peter Pelz, Director, Soul of Europe

Collin Prescod, Film maker, Chair, Institute of Race Relations

Revd. Donald Reeves, Director, Soul of Europe

David Renton, Barrister

Ronan Toal, Barrister

Anthony Vaughan, Barrister

Frances Webber, Barrister, Vice-chair, Institute of Race Relations

Marc Willers QC, Barrister

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