European delegation goes to Ali Aarass hearing in Morocco.
On 24 September, IRR executive director, Liz Fekete and vice-chair Frances Webber joined an international delegation of lawyers, scholars, human rights activists, journalists and filmmakers at the Appeal Court at Rabat-Salé to hear the long-awaited appeal of the dual Belgian-Moroccan national Ali Aarrass on terrorism charges.
Other members of the forty-strong delegation included Professor Penny Green, head of the International State Crimes Initiative at Kings College, London, Marc Nève, a distinguished lawyer, jurist and former vice-chair of the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), and the French jurist and former Green MEP Alima Boumediene-Thiery.
UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez had visited Ali in prison days prior to the hearing, and issued a statement expressing his grave concern at the authorities’ continuing use of torture. As a result, Ali was threatened by prison staff and family members’ visits were obstructed, and security police also harassed those taking photographs outside the prison.
Ali’s lawyers presented the judges with damning evidence of the illegality of the whole extradition and trial process, including that the charges bore no relation to those in the extradition warrant; the investigation into Ali’s claims of torture was tardy and perfunctory and breached UN standards; key evidence was withheld from Ali’s lawyers at the original trial; and Ali was never granted free, private access to his lawyers.
The case was adjourned until next week, when Ali will testify about his treatment in custody and the judges will deliver their verdict. The family will yet again have to find the legal costs, travel and hotel expenses that a further hearing implies, and they badly need financial help.
To help support Ali Aarrass in his fight for justice please send money to the Friends of Ali Aarrass (sort code: 08 92 99, account number 65583960).
Read an IRR News story: ‘Protests over Ali Aarrass conviction‘
Read an IRR News story: ‘Dual nationals, equal rights and the case of Ali Aarrass‘