London – CAGE urges the French authorities to stay the extradition of Redouane Aberbri and Rachid Ait El Hadj, two French citizens who face the risk of torture if deported to Morocco.
Rachid and Redouane were arrested in 2004 on a Moroccan arrest warrant based on torture evidence that linked them to the 2003 Casablanca bombings. Despite never being charged with involvement in the plot, and it never being suggested that they were involved in it during the case, both were sentenced to eight years in prison. Since their release, they have rebuilt their lives and worked in a successful Hajj and Umrah agency.
The law that was invoked in their case, the association de malfatuers (criminal association), has been criticised by leading human rights organisations for resulting in convictions based on weak or circumstantial evidence. The unjust nature of their case is further underlined by the use of evidence derived from torture in Morocco.
Following the attacks in France, the interior ministry has attempted to strip all those previously accused of terrorism of their nationality and deport them. Unfortunately, the cases of Rachid and Redouane have exhausted all legal avenues in France. This means they are at an imminent risk of extradition.
Rachid Ait el Hadj spoke to CAGE:
“This is oppression. We have done nothing. We’ve served our sentences and started a completely new life. The French authorities are using the heightened security situation as an excuse to remove citizenship and deport French nationals. I am married and have children and grew up in this country.”
“I have no links to the country of my origin, Morocco. The last time I visited it was on 2000. I am worried that if I am deported to Morocco I may experience injustice and have torture evidence used against me. Even worse I fear for my own personal safety as a person of interest in relation to terrorism cases in Morocco.”
Karen Jayes, spokesperson for CAGE, said:
“Rachid and Redouane are only connected to Morocco by birth. Since they were toddlers they have lived, studied, worked and married in France. They should be given their full rights as European citizens. We urge the European Court of Human Rights to stop this injustice, before the French authorities rush the process through, as has happened before.”
“Using a fear-based environment to invoke unjust laws is the hallmark of discrimination and oppression, and has unfortunately become routine in the global ‘War on Terror’. We urge the French authorities to abide by the rule of law, stay Rachid’s and Redouane’s extradition, and give them their full rights to challenge their case in a fair trial.”
(CC image courtesy of Parti socialiste on Flickr)
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)