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On Friday, Reporters Without Borders called for the release of Sahrawi journalist Mohamed El Amine Hadi, who has been imprisoned in Morocco for ten years and faces “death risk” after he went on hunger strike.

The organization confirmed in a statement that the journalist was subjected to “forced feeding after a 78-day hunger strike … (and he is in) a worrying health condition,” and called for “upholding the principle of humanity and releasing him as soon as possible.”

Muhammad al-Amin Hadi was imprisoned in 2010, and he was convicted of 25 years in prison in 2013 for the killing of police officers. The journalist was a collaborator with the “Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic” television (Rassd).

“Rasd” TV was founded in 1976 by the Polisario Front, which demands the independence of Western Sahara, with the support of Algeria for 45 years.

The journalist, considered by Morocco to be a separatist activist, began an open-ended hunger strike on January 13th to protest the ill-treatment. He has been forcibly fed through a nasogastric tube since last week, according to Reporters Without Borders.

The Moroccan authorities refuse to allow his family to visit him, according to the organization concerned with defending freedom of the press.

In March, however, the Moroccan prison administration denied the “allegations.”

The National Council for Human Rights, an official body, confirmed on March 3 that the prisoner “did not enter into any hunger strike” and that his health condition was “normal”.

“The torture of Mohamed Al-Amin Hadi has lasted for a long time. The time has come to put an end to it,” Christophe Delaware, Secretary-General of Reporters Without Borders, said in the statement, explaining that he had been on hunger strike for more than two months.

He added that the journalist faces “the risk of death, he must be released as soon as possible. We direct an emergency appeal to the Moroccan authorities to put an end to his plight.”

Mohamed El Amine Hadi was arrested after covering the Moroccan forces’ dismantling of the Gdeim Izik camp, near El-Ayoun, the largest city in Western Sahara, where about 15,000 Sahrawis have settled to protest their living conditions.

The intervention turned into violent clashes and then into riots in El-Ayoun. According to Rabat, 11 members of the security forces were killed and dozens of them injured.

In the wake of the riots, a Moroccan military court sentenced 23 Sahrawi activists to prison terms ranging from 20 years to life in prison.


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