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Please write to H.E. Laila Joumala Alaoui, Moroccan ambassador in London

Demo London Dec 2011 Nico 2H.E. Laila Joumala Alaoui
Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco in London
49 Queen’s Gate Gardens, London SW7 5NE
Your Excellency,
I am extremely concerned about Ali Aarrass, who has been in prison in Morocco since December 2010. He has consistently claimed to have been tortured during his initial incommunicado detention, resulting in a false confession used to convict him of involvement in terrorism. His claims have been upheld by a number of international bodies but he remains in prison. The law concerning appeals to the Cour de Cassation from detained persons appears to have been violated in his case, since he has waited for three years since lodging his appeal. Additionally, his rights to dignity and humane treatment have not been respected in Sale II prison. Further, requests for consular access by Belgium, the state of his other nationality, have been ignored. 
Please convey to your government my grave concern, and my request for M. Aarrass’ immediate release with compensation, as recommended over a year ago by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. 

Yours sincerely
An action from the Ali Aarrass London Support Committee

Ali Aarrass: the last struggle, Press release from the Jus Cogens legal practice and the Free Ali Committee 15 September 2015


15 September 2015

Press release from the Jus Cogens legal practice and the Free Ali Committee

Ali Aarrass: the last struggle

Justice for Ali Frances and Beverly Foulkes Jones(translation Frances Webber)

Ali Aarrass, dual-national Belgian citizen whose case has sadly become famous in many countries through Amnesty International’s campaign against torture, has been on hunger strike since 25 August in Salée II prison in Morocco.

‘The hunger strike has become the only way I can make my voice heard’, wrote Ali Aarrass on 27 August in a letter to the Moroccan Ministry of Justice.

Today, after twenty-two days on hunger strike, his state of health is becoming increasingly worrying. Ali has lost 12kg. He suffers migraines and insomnia. His joints are very painful, he has difficulty speaking and standing.

Despite this, Ali Aarrass has determined to continue his hunger strike until the Moroccan authorities respond to his five demands.

  1. Stop the arbitrariness and ill-treatment at Salée II

Certain guards and officers in the prison, such as the landing supervisor Ben Ali Hicham, create a climate of constant tension through provocations, humiliations, threats and insults, and should be dismissed from their posts. The elementary rights of prisoners must be respected.

  1. Communicate the results of the investigation of Ali’s complaint of torture, awaited since September 2014

On 27 May 2014, the UN Committee Against Torture gave the Moroccan government three months to complete an impartial and rigorous investigation into the torture of Ali Aarrass, including a medical examination complying with international standards. An investigation was re-opened, but seventeen months later no report and no conclusions have been made available.

  1. A response to the application for appeal, awaited since 2012

Three years ago, after Ali’s conviction was upheld on appeal, an application for further appeal was lodged by the defence, immediately after the verdict and within the period contemplated by the law. The Moroccan authorities have never responded to this application, meaning that the criminal justice process for Ali has never finished, so he remains in provisional detention, with requests for transfers etc blocked

  1. Authorisation for a consular visit by Belgium, awaited since September 2014

Since September 2014, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has made repeated requests to the Moroccan authorities to visit Ali Aarrass. This information was confirmed by a letter from M. Reynders of 9 September 2015, which says: ‘In order to be able to visit a prisoner, whoever he is, the Embassy must always request authorisation for the visit from the authorities of the country where the person is detained. The request to visit M. Aarrass was duly lodged with the Moroccan authorities.’ . For a year, the Moroccan authorities have refused to respond to this request, preventing the Belgian consul from visiting a Belgian citizen, and thus violating international law.

  1. Immediate release

Ali Aarrass has never been definitively judged or condemned, and his provisional detention now exceeds any reasonable period contemplated by the law. Article 546 of the Moroccan criminal procedure code stipulates that ‘the Court of Appeal is obliged to rule urgently and as a priority on appeals of those detained, within a maximum period of three months of receiving the dossier’. After eight years of provisional detention, immediate release for Ali is the least that can be done to restore an equitable process.

In its opinion of October 2013, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention called on the Moroccan authorities ‘to release Mr Aarrass immediately [and] grant him adequate compensation’. (

25 August: Ali Aarrass starts a hunger strike for his basic rights – for the sixth time in seven years and five months of arbitrary detention.


Ali Aarrass et sa fille il y a 7 ansby Frances Webber, Friends of Ali Aarrass London Support Committee

(Photo : Ali Aarrass and his daughter 7,5 years ago)

Once again Ali Aarrass is protesting at being bullied and humiliated, this time by a new manager of his block, Ben Ali Hicham, who loses no opportunity to inflict petty humiliations, whether it’s refusing to allow in toiletries or denying medical help.

Another issue for Ali is the blatant lie by prison managers, in a letter to Morocco’s human rights council, that he ended his July 2013 hunger and thirst strike because all his demands were met.

According to Ali, he ended the strike only because his guards begged him to, saying they would suffer if he continued. His conditions of detention have always been discriminatory, insulting, humiliating and threatening, keeping him under constant pressure.

Ali has never had a medical visit, and the only right he has, to phone his family, can involve queueing for the phone for up to ninety minutes.

The hunger strike, and his continued unlawful detention, need to be as widely publicised as possible.


14 February 2015 : Amnesty International conference in London on how to campaign for safeguards against torture !


Justice for AliPhoto : Frances Webber, a legal practitioner with over 30 years experience, member of the Friends of Ali Aarrass London Support Committee, and Beverley Foulkes-Jones, Amnesty International country coordinator for Morocco.

London Support ALI AARRASS News : Two new videos


free ali aarrass nowDear Friend of Ali Aarrass,

Two new videos are available on –

There is footage of a demonstration on Human Rights Day here.

And in this rap, Ali’s own voice mingles with those of rappers and campaigners to call for Ali’s freedom.

The fact that Ali is still in prison, months after the decisions of national and international courts condemning Morocco, Belgium and Spain for their respective roles in his extradition, torture and incarceration, is shocking and scandalous.

Please write to Ali at Prison de Salé II, Ville de Salé, Morocco
and send him your best wishes for 2015 – and let’s work to ensure that it will be the year of his liberation.

Thanks, and all the best for Christmas and the new year –
Frances Webber

Ali Aarrass : Two significant judgments


drapeau espagnolDear Friends of Ali Aarrass,

On 28 August, the UN Human Rights Committee condemned Spain for its extradition of Ali Aarrass to torture in Morocco in December 2010, in breach of the Committee’s demand for a stay. The Committee found as a fact that Ali was tortured in Morocco, and that before extraditing him the Spanish authorities did not properly assess the risk of torture. Spain’s treatment of Ali violated Article 7 of the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights, which bans exposure to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment, and Spain is liable not only to pay compensation to Ali but to do everything in its power to assist him now. The Committee gave Spain six months to comply with its decision.

The Committee exists to enforce States’ obligations under the ICCPR, whose guarantees mirror those of the European Convention on Human Rights but apply to signatory states worldwide.

In May, Ali won a ruling against Morocco from the UN Committee Against Torture

drapeau belge IIWithin a fortnight, on 9 September, the Belgian Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s February ruling that the Belgian authorities are under a duty to provide Ali with consular assistance.

Ali and his lawyers have secured official condemnation of all three states involved in his predicament: Spain, which recklessly extradited him; Morocco, which tortured, tried and sentenced him, and Belgium, which has refused to lift a finger to help him. These denunciations and orders must not be allowed to be in vain.

Ali must be freed!

Frances Webber

On 25 and 26 June in Brussels and in London before the Moroccan embassy : Amnesty International for Ali Aarrass !


E flyer Stop Torture Ali Ali Aarrass-page-001LONDON 26 JUNE 2014














Ali Aarrass Brussels 26 June 2014BRUXELLES 25 JUIN 2014

« Amnesty International organise une manifestation pacifique lors de laquelle les activistes vont littéralement se placer entre le tortionnaire (Maroc) et sa victime (Ali Aarrass). Nous demanderons aux autorités Marocains d’arrêter la torture et de libérer Ali Aarrass. Quand? Le Mercredi 25 juin de 10h30 à 11h45. Où? Devant l’ambassade du Maroc, Boulevard Saint-Michel, 29 – 1040 Etterbeek.Ce sera l’occasion de rendre visible notre campagne contre la torture dans les médias, mais aussi d’interpeller les autorités marocaines et belges pour qu’elles agissent en faveur d’Ali Aarrass.Ali Aarrass a été condamné au Maroc à 12 ans de prison pour faits de terrorisme qu’il a toujours niés. Il est cependant avéré par deux rapports onusiens que les aveux utilisés pour le condamner ont été obtenus sous la torture. Amnesty International se mobilise pour que les autorités marocaines agissent en faveur de leur ressortissant afin d’obtenir sa libération, suite aux recommandations du Groupe de travail sur la détention arbitraire de l’ONU, ainsi qu’une enquête sur ses plaintes de torture et une éventuelle poursuite des auteurs. Amnesty demande également au gouvernement belge de faire pression diplomatiquement sur les autorités marocaines pour qu’elles agissent en faveur d’Ali Aarrass. Le gouvernement belge lui refuse obstinément à toute assistance consulaire, sous prétexte qu’il est binational. »

London support committee Friends of Ali Aarrass: latest news on Ali Aarrass (25 May)

Barrister Frances Webber II picassaDear Friends of Ali Aarrass,

On 13 May, Amnesty International launched a two-year campaign against torture. It highlighted five countries – Morocco, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Uzbekistan –  and five cases, of which one is that of Ali Aarrass. The AI report uses the report of UN Special Rapporteur Juan Mendez and that of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and echoes the Working Group’s call for Ali’s immediate release. It also calls for a proper investigation of the torture allegations, the installation of video cameras in interrogation areas and for lawyers to be present during questioning.
Amnesty is calling on its supporters to write to the Moroccan minister of justice, Ramid El Mustapha, and to Ali in prison (Salé II, Salé, Morocco). Campaigning materials are available from AI’s London office, for use in schools, solidarity events etc. Ali’s sister Farida is touring Spain with AI (Spain) to publicise the campaign and Ali’s case.
A week after the launch of the campaign, on 21 May, the Moroccan authorities announced a new investigation into Ali’s complaints of torture.
In February, the Belgian state was ordered to provide Ali with consular assistance. The court held that the Hague Convention provisions against assistance of dual nationals in their second ‘home state’ did not apply since Morocco had not ratified the Convention, and that the right of states to intervene diplomatically on behalf of citizens became a duty when the citizen was alleging grave breaches of fundamental rights. The Belgian government’s appeal against this ground-breaking first-instance decision is due to be heard tomorrow, 26 May.
Meanwhile, Ali remains in prison. He has been in custody for a total of six years and nearly two months. Please continue to support him with letters.
Frances Webber
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