* * * Please forward to Your Excellency, Mr. Mustapha Ramid, Minister in charge of Human Rights * * *
On 31 October 2019, the National Council for Human Rights (CNDH) announced that detained journalist Rabie Lablak decided to end his hunger strike after 45 days due to the deterioration of his health condition. Lablak began his hunger strike on 6 September 2019 in protest of the alleged torture and ill-treatment he has suffered at the hands of Moroccan security officials since his arrest in 2017.
On Friday 25 October 2019, Lablak’s lawyer Souad Brahma confirmed that his health was critical. He was barely able to talk or walk and was brought to her with the help of two people; “he visibly lost so much weight and his body was so weak”. After the lawyer’s visit, Lablak was admitted to the prison’s health facility that, according to his lawyer, is poorly equipped and inadequate to manage his critical state. While his family and lawyers were alarmed about his health condition, the prison administration issued three statements denying knowledge about the hunger strike and continuously neglected his deteriorating health during his hunger strike.
A delegate from the Moroccan Council for Human Rights visited Lablak on 20 October 2019. The doctor in charge of prisons at the council, who was part of the delegation, was appalled by the state of Lablak’s health and confirmed the urgency of transferring him to a hospital. Despite all these confirmations, Rabie was denied access to adequate medical care and thus his life was put in danger.
In June 2018, Rabie Lablak was sentenced to five years in prison for “spreading false information and the usurpation of the profession of journalism” in what his lawyer alleges was an unfair trial.
I therefore ask you to immediately and unconditionally release Rabie Lablak and quash his conviction. Pending his release, I call on you to ensure he has access to qualified health professionals and healthcare provided in line with medical ethics, including the principles of confidentiality, autonomy, and informed consent. I finally call on you to investigate the conditions of his detention and the lack of adequate healthcare provided during his hunger strike.