Salil Shetty, Amnesty International Secretary General. Moroccan security forces silenced critics and dissenters with use of torture, an Amnesty International report, released Tuesday, claims. Photo courtesy of Rob Brouwe/ Amnesty International.
LONDON, May 19 (UPI) -- Moroccan security forces silenced critics and dissenters with use of torture, an Amnesty International report, released Tuesday, claims.
The London-based activist group cites 173 cases of alleged torture by police and other security forces since 2010.
The report comes as non-governmental organizations are critical of a pending agreement of legal cooperation between France and Morocco.
"Morocco's leaders portray the image of a liberal, human rights-friendly country. But as long as the threat of torture hangs over detention and dissent that image will just be a mirage. Scratch at the surface and you will find torture being used to silence protest and torture-tainted convictions in courts. Whether you challenge inequality or stand up for what you believe, you could be a target for violence and torture," said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International Secretary General.
The report said torture victims are typically students and those with leftist or Islamist political leanings, and identifies examples of beatings, asphyxiations, electric shocks, simulated drowning and psychological and sexual violence. It quotes comments by Abdelaziz Redaouia, who said he was tortured by police for failing to incriminate himself by signing an investigation report after he was arrested in 2013 for an alleged drug offense.
"I refused to sign the interrogation report, so they hit me again. They hooked a handcuff inside my cheek and yanked at it like they were going to pierce my skin."
The report says security forces act with impunity, often beating protesters in plain sight to serve as a warning to other protesters. It noted the Moroccan government claims it has initiated reforms but dismisses all allegations of torture instead of investigating them.