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ISCI is an interdisciplinary forum for research, reportage and debate. Through both empirical and theoretical enquiry we aim to connect rigorous research with emancipatory activism. ISCI is institutionally supported by Queen Mary University of London an ... more

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State crime and the War on ... [cached]

State crime and the War on Terror: the trial of Ali Aarrass

State crime and the War on ... [cached]

State crime and the War on Terror: the trial of Ali Aarrass

State crime and the War on Terror: the trial of Ali Aarrass
ISCI describes first hand the experience of being part of the international delegation observing the trial of Moroccan/Belgian national, Ali Aarrass currently incarcerated in a Moroccan prison:
In the case of bookseller and Moroccan/Belgian national, Ali Aarrass, the crimes of three states converge to create a miscarriage of justice of international proportions. Ali's case highlights in graphic detail the range of state criminality that has become routine since 9/11 under cover of the global war on terror.
Arrested in Spain in 2008 for weapons related offences linked to terrorism in Morocco, Ali was held in Spanish jails for 2 years until Judge Baltazar Garzon found no grounds to implicate him in such activity.
That Ali was likely to face such treatment could not have escaped the attention of the Spanish authorities. The Belgian state too is in the dock having turned a blind eye and raised no protest at the illegal treatment of one of its nationals. Immediately following his illegal extradition Ali was held for 8 days incommunicado during which time he was subjected to unspeakable acts of torture by Morocco's Secret Service, the Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire (DST).
Ali reports that he was subjected to sleep deprivation, the injection of chemicals, electric shocks to his genitals, beatings whilst hanging by his feet and rape - ordeals commonly reported by 'terrorism' suspects detained in Morocco. During this period of interrogation and alleged torture Ali signed a confession written in Arabic. As demonstrated by the need for a translator during his Appeal, this is a language that Ali does not speak, having been raised in French and Spanish speaking communities. A court in Rabat Salé comprising three judges sentenced Ali to 15 years imprisonment. The forced and false confession was the only evidence produced against him. The prosecution also refers to statements made by three named individuals who allegedly admit to terrorism charges and say that Ali is an 'associate' of theirs - but the defence has never seen these statements and do not know if they in fact exist.
In September 2012, to the shock and dismay of his family and an international delegation of lawyers, campaigners and academics, five judges in Rabat Salé's Court of Appeal upheld Ali's original conviction, reducing his sentence to 12 years. That this is three years shorter than the original sentence of 15 years is no comfort. There is no evidence that Ali is guilty of the charges that were used to convict him.
Ali enters through a side-door, separated from the audience by a glass partition.
Standing in the centre of the court, Ali stares at the floor. He is barely present and as others speak for him and equivocate over his fate, the man with the story is the only one without a voice.
The family is back at the prison, and at around 11am they try to get access to Ali before his trial continues in the afternoon.
Using forensic evidence against torture: case of Ali Aarrass
To help support Ali Aarrass in his fight for justice you can donate to the Friends of Ali Aarrass (sort code 08-92-99, account number 65583960).

State crime and the War on ... [cached]

State crime and the War on Terror: the trial of Ali Aarrass

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