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European prisoners in Morocco 'on hunger strike'

Dozens of European prisoners in Morocco, many of whom also have Moroccan nationality, announced the start of a hunger strike on Monday to draw attention to the poor conditions in which they are being held.
The detainees at different prisons in Sale, Casablanca, Tangier and other cities -- most of whom were convicted for drug trafficking, according to different sources -- complained of "physical abuse."
They said in a statement that they had begun their three-day hunger strike to assert their rights and highlight their suffering.
The kingdom's prison authorities denied that a hunger strike was being observed, and rejected as incorrect the accusations of maltreatment.
"Most of us do not have the right to a fair trial," the group said, adding that it was demanding the right to foreign defence lawyers and the speeding up of transfers to the prisoners' countries of origin.
One of them told AFP by phone that the group, which numbered about 40, had difficulty coordinating their strike, but that the heads of the various prison wards had been informed of their action on Monday morning.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said the initiative was designed in particular "to alert the European countries" which had "not done enough" to improve their circumstances.
Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture, an ecumenical rights group, said in a separate statement that it supported the hunger strike, and confirmed that the prisoners included "French, Belgian and Spanish nationals... several with dual nationality."
During a visit to Morocco last month, the UN special envoy on torture, Juan Mendez, said the inhumane treatment of prisoners was "very frequent," and highlighted concerns about convictions based on confessions obtained through torture.

(The Daily Star :
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