Morocco: Political Prisoners

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 8th May 2008.

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Photo of Joan Walley Joan Walley Labour, Stoke-on-Trent North

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the hunger strike by 60 Sahrawi political prisoners in Moroccan jails; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Kim Howells Kim Howells Minister of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office

The Government are aware of a number of Sahrawi prisoners in Moroccan jails currently on hunger strike. I understand they are calling for improvements in prison conditions and to be treated as political prisoners.

The UK has worked hard to help Morocco improve prison conditions in recent years. In 2005-07, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office funded a prison management project aimed at raising awareness of prisoners' rights and improving working practices.

As part of this, our embassy in Rabat organised regional prison conferences in May 2006 and April 2007, aimed at tackling radicalisation, preventing recruitment, promoting rehabilitation and promoting the rule of law and human rights in Islamic countries' prisons.

We continue to engage with the Moroccan Government at various levels to ensure the rule of law is upheld and the rights of prisoners are respected.

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