Jailed Morocco Islamists on hunger strike
Rabat - Islamists who say they are being unfairly held in Moroccan prisons are staging hunger strikes to put more pressure on the new government to release them, according to campaigners who are in contact with the prisoners.
Letters sent from jail by the inmates and shown to Reuters by their supporters, describe a series of protests by prisoners, followed by punishments by their gaolers that include force feeding and torture.
Officials in the north African kingdom deny torturing or mistreating the prisoners, saying that this was a lie by inmates to try to attract attention to their cases.
But the accounts from inside jails show that, even after 12 years of King Mohammed VI's reformist rule and a fresh burst of reforms after last year's "Arab Spring" that were lauded by Western governments, Morocco has yet to follow through fully on promises to clean up its justice system.
A hand-written letter sent by a group of Islamist inmates in Toulal 2 prison, near Meknes in northern Morocco, described the state of health of the hunger strikers. Reuters has seen a copy of the letter.
"Noureddine Jarrar, Abderrahim Barazani, Abdessamad Battar ... are vomiting blood," said the letter, which was dated 12 May 2012.
"Mohamed Chetaibi ... fainted. Ismael Belamara fainted too because he is diabetic. Mustapha Sefiani tried several times to commit suicide by hanging himself, and the prison administration punished him by tying his hands and feet and leaving him next to a pile of rubbish." (...)