Justice for Kassim

 

 

Abou Elkassim Britel :

at home at last !

 

kassim leaves the Kenitra's jail, 14.04.2011

 April 2011

 
For several days we retourned to Italy after the sudden release of Kassim on April 14th
 
Kassim is still very tired and worn, trying to do some sport, but will need time to recover his health.
 
We are now ready to resume a quiet life, to return to normal.
 
Heartfelt thanks to all those who have supported and helped, greetings 
Kassim and khadija


video Kassim's liberation to be seen here

 

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The one you see in the picture is ABOU ELKASSIM BRITEL, Kassim named. He's an ITALIAN citizen, but first and foremost a human being who endured a lot of suffering since march 2002 : illegal arrests, secret detentions, extraordinary renditions, physical and psychological tortures, rough interrogations, unfair and faulty trial, hard imprisonment, years of investigation led to the filing… hopes, disappointments, he's not guilty but always held and he will be left so until September 2012 if he doesn't get the justice he deserve and that's denied him. Is that unbelievable? Do you matter of that? You want to know what happens and that's not told? Go to this website to break off injustice, to let us get a life worthy of such name, that's our inalienable right! We give our thanks to all those who believe that human rights must be respected always and in any case and therefore they will support us                  khadija 

 

Abou Elkassim Britel

ask to be free

 

www.aclu.org

Faces of Justice Denied – Victims of the U.S. Torture  Program                                                             December 10, 2010

Binyam Mohamed, Abou Elkassim Britel, Ahmed Agiza, Mohamed Bashmilah, and Bisher al-Rawi, victims of the U.S. torture program denied any day in U.S. court because the government claims that their torture is a “state secret”The ACLU filed a federal lawsuit against Jeppesen DataPlan, Inc., a subsidiary of Boeing Company, on behalf of five survivors of the extraordinary rendition program.
The suit charges that Jeppesen knowingly participated in these renditions by providing critical flight planning and logistical support services to aircraft and crews used by the CIA to forcibly disappear these five men to torture, detention and interrogation.
… >>>

ACLU Asks Supreme Court To Hear Extraordinary Rendition Case                  December 8, 2010

Government Has Abused "State Secrets" Privilege To Prevent Accountability For Torture, Says Group
WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union late last night asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a lower court decision dismissing its lawsuit against a Boeing subsidiary, Jeppesen DataPlan, Inc., for the company's role in the Bush administration's extraordinary rendition program.
The ACLU and the ACLU of Northern California filed the lawsuit in May 2007 on behalf of five men who were kidnapped by the CIA, forcibly disappeared to U.S.-run prisons overseas and tortured.
Although the federal government was not initially named in the lawsuit, it intervened for the sole purpose of arguing that the case should be dismissed based on the "state secrets" privilege.
  … >>>

More information: Mohamed et al. v Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc 

 

Alkarama for Abou Elkassim Britel and other detainees transferred to Kénitra                                                                          November 29th, 2010

On 19th November the NGO Alkarama sent a communication to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture about the case Britel.
A similar action in favor of other detainees who had undergone the same prison forced transfers was implemented on 26th November.

The reports of Alkarama in Arabic, in French:

Maroc : M. Abou Elkassim Britel, victime de tortures et de traitements cruels en détention

Maroc : Youssef Al-Khammal et les autres détenus transférés vers la prison de Kenitra victimes de tortures 

 

In Morocco there is no change: arbitrary arrests, secret detentions in Témara… a course of action established in the HRW report    October 25th, 2010

The crimes perpetred against Abou Elkassim Britel – for over one year "host" of services in Témara before un an unfair trial – are still practiced against people who have been denied any right :

Morocco: End Abuses in Counterterrorism Arrests

 

Morocco : Violent attack on Kassim Britel                                                    October 2010                             
On Saturday 9th October, at 6 am, Abou Elkassim Britel endured a coerced transfer from Oukasha jail to the jail at Kenitra. 

Deprived of his clothes, clock and all other personal effects, Kassim was made to get in a car blindfolded, and when he arrived at Kenitra, was thrown on the floor and roughly mistreated with kicking and beating.
Already sick and tired from the years of imprisonment and torture, he was put in a cell without clothes, food, bed, or blankets, suffering from the bruises and wounds.   He is hungry, and has been deprived of his food supplies.

Sunday evening his wife, not having more recent news from him than Thursday, sounded the alarm.
On 11th October, one of his sisters succeeded in meeting with him.
Kassim, in tears, told the story and asked to be visited soon by the Italian Ambassador or the Consul. 

Moroccan prisons: The escalation of repression
Alkarama*, October 12th, 2010

The transfer of nearly 100 prisoners from various prisons towards the Kenitra prison, on October 9th, 2010, was conducted in a excessive violence. Upon their arrival in the Central Prison of Kenitra, the guards were waiting for them to sustain beatings and torture.

At dawn on Saturday, October 9th, 2010, between 89 and 140 inmates Islamists, according to sources, from several Moroccan prisons were been transferred to the prison of Kenitra. This transfer took place in a simultaneous manner and was conducted according to the same modus operandi:

The inmates were awakened in the middle of the night by guards and forced, handcuffed and blindfolded, in police vans.

They have been object of serious violence by guards that stole all their belongings, including their clothing.

Upon arrival at the prison in Kenitra, they were greeted by guards excited who insulted   …>>>

*Alkarama (Dignity) is a non-governmental organisation founded in 2004 by a team of volunteer lawyers and activists on human rights to help ensure the promotion and protection of human rights, especially in the Arab World.

 

Appeals Court Decision Denies Extraordinary Rendition Victims Their Day In Court      

September 8, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO – A federal appeals court today dismissed a case against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan, Inc. for its role in the Bush administration's extraordinary rendition program. The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Northern California filed the lawsuit in May 2007 on behalf of five men who were kidnapped by the CIA, forcibly disappeared to U.S.-run prisons overseas and tortured.  … >>>    
Source : http://www.aclu.org/

 

Finished the hunger strike – The appeal of Ennassir                                     January 2010 

On last January 4th  the hunger strike finished. A protest of 42 days that has brought scarce results. 
The association Ennassir has organized a lecture, on January 11th in Rabat, to ask a run of reconciliation between the Islamic prisoners and the Kingdom.  The only practicable way to put an end to the injustices towards the convicts for "terrorism."  
Many prisoners, following iniquitous trials, are absolutely innocent. The hard conditions of detention in the Moroccan jails weigh on the families and they.
The service (in Arabic language) of the Tv al-jazeera: here  

 

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”             December 10th 2009

Today  is 61st  anniversary of the universal Declaration of the Rights of the man and for the Abou Elkassim Britel, uncensored Italian citizen, is 17th day of hunger strike in the jail of Oukasha, another day of life that is escaped him from over 7 years. 

An iniquitous sentence for "subversive association" is not matter of which to deal, neither for the politicians, neither for the newspapers, it doesn't bring votes, doesn't make to sell copies. And it is much easier to comment negations of the rights in distant countries than in the "beautiful country", where the priorities are other. 

Abou Elkassim Britel is one of the victims of the so-called  "war to the terror" of Bush, whose tragic result has been reconstructed with clarity, but, while other countries are hocked for the liberation of their citizens, here in Italy nothing is done, it is ignored, is omitted, hoping that the time does its job and… I wonder whether  he will return anymore to house! 

Abou Elkassim Britel, 16° day of hunger strike                                       December 9th 2009

Together with the other brothers Kassim continues the hunger strike  in the jail of Oukasha.  Also in Kenitra the strike continues. In the last hours some brothers have reentered in the department from the detention in dungeon, after the brutal repression of December 2nd

On the same day Khadija Ryadi and Abdelilah Benabdessalam, President and vice-president of the AMDH, have been attacked with heavy words by the general Delegate of the penitentiary administration during a proper meeting on the situation of the Islamic prisoners. [see the Arabic page of the site].

On day 4th, while in all the jails of Morocco the Islamic prisoners abstained themselves from the food in solidarity with their companions on hunger strike, the families with the association an-Nasir, participated in a protest in Rabat.
The expectated sit-in in front of the Department of justice has been prevented by the police, the demonstrators diverted to the CCDH [the Conseil Consultatif des Droits de l'Homme, a government organ] that in the years has already picked up  other reports without succession.
Different associations of the human rights have participated in the protest, particularly the President of the AMDH and the one of the FIDH, as well as the tv al-Jazeera that in the evening has devoted a service to the serious one and not new situation of the so-called "islamistes" in the jails of Morocco.

On the occasion of 61. anniversary of the universal Declaration of the rights of the man, on December 10th, An-Nasir organizes another sit-in in front of the Department of Justice and it asks to all those people that really worry about the human rights for sustaining the legitimate demands of these prisoners, for defending their dignity and for vindicating their liberty.

The same prisoners have compiled the brief relationship that follows with the purpose to report once more their condition, they ask for listening and takings of position towards the Kingdom of Morocco that ignores the injustice that they suffer for a long time.

General report on the situation of the Islamic prisoners [the so-called  "islamistes"] in the jails of Morocco

In truth "safeguarding the dignity of the man, defending his rights" is one of the most repeated slogans and displayed by the Kingdom of Morocco in this "new epoch" [the kingdom of Mohammed VI] with the purpose to go out of the neck of bottle inherited by the "years of incandescent coal and lead" [the kingdom of Hassan II].

The situation of the jails denies and unmasks this declaration.
After the nomination – on April 2008 – of the general Delegate of the penitentiary administration and for the reintegration  – already general commander of the police and already involved, according to some associations of the human Rights, in serious violations – the conditions in the Moroccan jails are still worsened.

To demonstrate it we examine some elements pertinent to some institutes of detention to testify the bad conditions of the most greater part of the jails of the Kingdom and the dimension of the carelessness of the persons responsible towards the prisoners.

1 – Local jail of Oukasha to Casablanca. The actual Governor has involved in the torture of the Islamic prisoners in the jail  Zaki in Salé (2003-2008), as different Ong of the human Rights declare. Here are reassumed the conditions of the "islamistes" in Oukasha:
- total lack of food, since what would be wanted to impose to the prisoners would not even be served to the animals [for absence of any hygienic measure and for bad quality]. This fact denotes the maximum of the humiliation and of the contempt,
- zone of the air of very reduced dimensions  in comparison with the standards,
- empty cells kept closed, in spite of the single cells being inhabited by more than one person,
- the scholastic education, besides foreseen by the arrangement, and the professional formation are forbidden,
- the access to the medical cares and the hospitalization in the specialized structures for the serious cases  are prevented [there have been also cases of death because of the denied cares],
-  very frequent and provocative personal searches for the dignity of the prisoner, with damage and/or sequestration of personal effects and essential objects,
- prohibition of access to the means for the cultural growth and to the services of the jail [for example: field of kick, computer science room].
2 – Central jail of Kenitra. The Islamic prisoners for protest against the very hard conditions of life were on hunger strike since November 27th 2009. Few days after the local Direction has intervened with violence using the batons to impose the interruption of the strike. The violent and Barbaric aggression has provoked:
- different tortured prisoners,
- some prisoners undressed and mocked for the nudity and the exposure of the intimate parts with the excuse to look for forbidden objects,
- sequestration of all the essential objects to survive, as blankets, mattresses, small stoves,… [already purchased before by the families],
- the transfer of a certain number of bandaged and handcuffed prisoners in the cells of detention with insults and hits.
3 – Agricultural jail of Settat. Besides the deprivation of the rights to the food, to the culture, to recreational moments, to the clothes,… the Islamic prisoners point out that the most serious problem is the prohibition of hospitalizating of serious sick and under critical conditions persons [2 cases at the moment].

Finally we remember that the inhuman conditions of the jails don't make us forget that justification doesn't exist for our detention, but that it derives from secret orders, out of the law. Neither we forget that the punishments that we suffer don't originate from equitable trials, but from trials without any quality of justice, basted on words torn under torture.Not only, also those people who have committed crimes, have been condemned without considerating particular conditions, as foreseen by the law [for example sick chronic, minors].

The excesses have been confirmed by the same King, as well as by the national and international Ongs that many times have published and documented in their annual relationships the inequities and the violations. Yet nobody has found an equitable solution of this dossier of which thousand people have been victims, of which still around 1000 are held.
Morocco, December 6th 2009
Edited by the Islamic prisoners in the jails of Morocco
 

Kassim Britel : The hunger strike in the jail of Oukasha                             December 1, 2009
In Morocco the Islamic prisoners of the jail of Oukasha have been on hunger strike since November 24th.
That morning is developed a provocative, humiliating and groundless search in the single cells and in the whole departmenrt that have been reduced under compassionate conditions. 
The jailers have forfeited many objects of ownership of the prisoners. Useful objects that the brothers used for preparing in common a meal a day, dividing what is brought by the families during the weekly visit, because nothing is given them by the jail.  
After the search the cells and the department, that the prisoners hold clean and in order, were under compassionate conditions. 
While the jailers went with their rich loot of "tajine" the prisoners decided to enter strike of the hunger and spread the following statement:

Are the sufferings of the Islamic prisoners  not enough? Or better the hearts of some people that are stripped of every humanity with ashamed precedents don't recover. 
Few days before the party of 'Aid the Governor of the jail of Oukasha has predisposed a provocative and humiliating inspection for the Islamic prisoners that have been deprived of objects of their ownership with insults and threats. One has been brought in the dungeon. 
We have asked explanations on what happened. It has been answered to us that the motive is due to  the contacts with the Associations of the Human Rights and the presentation of claims and official reports. 
For the action of this Governor, whose fame is note to all, we are forced to an hunger strike starting from today,Tuesday 24
th November.  We renew our complaint for those people that are interested to stir for bringing the Governor in the limits of his function and to make stop to the injustice that often strikes us on his behalf.  Among the provocations in the jail of Oukasha: 
   – closing empty cells to create overcrowding in the department, 
   – any food provision, 
   – preventing the prisoners from taking advantage of the professional formation, 
   – preventing the university students from taking advantage of computer tools, 
   – forbidding the entry of books and magazines, 
   – forbidding the entry of some essential foods, 
   – …. 
At the moment the Islamic prisoners on hunger strike are 27. 
Oukasha, November 24
th 2009 

 


 The United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture


ABOU ELKASSIM BRITEL IS STILL UNJUSTLY HELD

Italian "Extraordinary Rendition" Victim Still Held In Morocco Based On Tortured Confession (6/25/2009)

Rights Groups Ask U.N. Special Rapporteurs To Investigate And Take Action

NEW YORK – Human rights groups today asked two U.N. Special Rapporteurs to investigate the case of Abou Elkassim Britel, an Italian citizen and victim of the CIA's unlawful "extraordinary rendition" program who is currently held in a Moroccan prison based on a confession coerced from him through torture. The American Civil Liberties Union and Alkarama for Human Rights requested that the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture and the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights while Countering Terrorism investigate the circumstances of Britel's forced disappearance, rendition, detention and torture, and raise his case with the governments of the United States, Morocco, Pakistan and Italy.  … >>> 
Source: the website American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) www.aclu.org

 
Awaiting an End to Injustice: Rendition Victim’s Wife Speaks About Accountability and Torture

Today, the ACLU’s Human Rights Program and Alkarama for Human Rights sent a request to two U.N. Special Rapporteurs (human rights experts) asking them to investigate the “extraordinary rendition”, detention and torture of Italian citizen Abou Elkassim Britel.
The ACLU represents Britel and four other men in a civil suit in the U.S. court system. The suit — Mohamed et al. v. Jeppesen — alleges that Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc., a subsidiary of Boeing, knowingly participated in the U.S. “extraordinary rendition” program by providing flight and logistical support services to the aircraft used by the CIA to transport Britel from Pakistan to Morocco in May 2002. … >>>
Source : The Blog of Rights by ACLU http://blog.aclu.org/

 

Abou Elkassim Britel: A Significant US Court Victory                                         May 7th  2009
 

This is an excerpt from Obama’s First 100 Days: Mixed Messages On Torture, an article by Andy Worthington

One example of the Obama administration attempting to block investigations into the torture policies of its predecessor concerned a case initially brought by the ACLU against Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc., a Boeing subsidiary, on behalf of five prisoners subjected to “extraordinary rendition” and torture (Binyam Mohamed, Ahmed Agiza, Abou Elkassim Britel, Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah and Bisher al-Rawi — profiled here), who were suing the company for damages based on their involvement in their ordeal as the CIA’s “travel agent.” The Bush administration had intervened the first time round, invoking the little-used state secrets doctrine, and requesting a dismissal of the entire action before Jeppesen filed an answer to the complaint, and when the case was revived in February, the Obama administration again followed suit, slavishly copying its predecessor, as it did with Bagram.
To be fair, if the administration is determined not to hold operatives to account for crimes sanctioned at the highest level, then it was logical that it would intervene to prevent Jeppesen’s contractors from being held to account, but, when the case was reviewed by the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, the judges — led by Judge Michael Daly Hawkins, and also including Judges Mary M. Schroeder and William C. Canby, Jr. — were not concerned with politics, but with the law, and they had no hesitation in demolishing the government’s case.
Jeppesen’s involvement in, and knowledge of the rendition program was actually revealed in an extraordinary declaration by Sean Belcher, a former employee, who stated that the director of Jeppesen International Trip Planning Services, Bob Overby, had told him,
“We do all the extraordinary rendition flights,” which he also referred to as “the torture flights” or “spook flights.” Belcher stated that “there were some employees who were not comfortable with that aspect of Jeppesen’s business” because they knew “some of these flights end up” with the passengers being tortured. He stated that Overby had explained, “that’s just the way it is, we’re doing them” because “the rendition flights paid very well.”
This declaration was cited by the judges  
…  >>>

Source : http://www.andyworthington.co.uk
Andy Worthington is journalist and the author of The Guantánamo Files : The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America's Illegal Prison, published by Pluto Press.
The full ruling by the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit : here
Andy Worthington, Guantánamo : The Definitive Prisoner List, published in March 2009.

 

Federal Court Permits Landmark ACLU Rendition Case To Go Forward                                                                      April 28, 2009

Government Cannot Claim State Secrets To Deny Torture Victims Day In Court

NEW YORK – A federal appeals court today ruled that a landmark American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan Inc. for its role in the Bush administration's unlawful extraordinary rendition program can go forward.

"This historic decision marks the beginning, not the end, of this litigation," said Ben Wizner, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project, who argued the case for the plaintiffs.

"Our clients, who are among the hundreds of victims of torture under the Bush administration, have waited for years just to get a foot in the courthouse door. Now, at long last, they will have their day in court. Today's ruling demolishes once and for all the legal fiction, advanced by the Bush administration and continued by the Obama administration, that facts known throughout the world could be deemed 'secrets' in a court of law." …
"The extraordinary rendition program is well known throughout the world," said Steven Watt, a staff attorney with the ACLU Human Rights Program. "The only place it hasn't been discussed is where it most cries out for examination – in a US court of law. Allowing this case to go forward is an important step toward reaffirming our commitment to domestic and international human rights law and restoring an America we can be proud of. Victims of extraordinary rendition deserve their day in court."  … >>>

Interrogation Memos Provide Further Reason To Give Torture Victims Day In Court, Says ACLU                                                                                                                    April 21, 2009

Group Submits Letter In Extraordinary Rendition Case Against Boeing Subsidiary
NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union today alerted a California federal appellate court that the government's assertion of the "state secrets" privilege in an extraordinary rendition case has even less merit given last week's Justice Department release of four "torture memos."
In a letter sent to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit today, the ACLU asserted that the recently released memos graphically describe several illegal interrogation techniques that were used by the CIA against some of the plaintiffs in its lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen …   >>>

 

 

The case Britel: Letter of 12 Italian Europarlamentarians to the minister of Foreign Affairs Franco Frattini                                                                                                  March 21st 2009 

Strasburgo, March 17th 2009 
         To the Minister of Foreign Affairs 

         On. Franco Frattini 

 
    Dear Mr. Minister, 

 Following our letter exchange of June 2008, we write You to solicit Your decisive intervention about the known case of Britel Abou El Kassim, the Italian citizen victim of extraordinary rendition, currently prisoner without any reason in Morocco.

In its resolution of February 14th 2007 the European Parliament had condemned "the extraordinary rendition of Italian citizen Abou Elkassim Britel, who was arrested in Pakistan in March 2002 by the Pakistani police and interrogated by US and Pakistani officials, and subsequently rendered to the Moroccan authorities" and it had invited "the Italian Government to take concrete steps in order to obtain the immediate release of Abou Elkassim Britel.

Unfortunately two years had passed from such resolution, and in despite of Your personal reassurances around the attention that Your office would have lent to the story, any tangible result has been produced. 

       Also to the light of the new climate in theme of struggle against the terrorism determined after the election of the American president Barack Obama and His decision towards the jail of Guantanamo, risen to symbol of the extraordinary rendition in the world, therefore we are for asking You that the Italian Government finally completes the necessary steps to return as soon as possible the freedom to a citizen of it unjustly prisoner, indemnifying in least part his family of the physical and psychic suffering tried until today. 

       Waiting for a comparison of Yours, we offer You kindest regards   

    MEPs
Vittorio Agnoletto     Vincenzo Aita     Marco Cappato     Giusto Catania     Giulietto Chiesa       Claudio Fava     Umberto Guidoni     Luisa Morgantini     Roberto Musacchio     Pasqualina Napoletano   Marco Pannella     Armando Veneto

 

March 10th 2002 – Abou Elkassim Britel lost his freedom.                                March 10th 2009
Since seven years from the illegal lock he is still prisoner in total scorn to his tried innocence. 

A place of block in Lahore, the taxi by which Kassim travels is checked.  
He exhibits his passport of Italian citizen and disappears. So this inhuman history begins and it is not yet ended. 
Years later Amnesty International will tell the practice of the sale of human beings to the world in possession from the police of Pakistan to the agents of the American services. These rewards in money have favoured the spreading of the illegality and of the brutality. 
How much money has been paid for Abou Elkassim Britel? 
The number of those people have suffered extraordinary rendition is not known, neither of those that have found the death, their assassins and their jailers are unpunished. 

The relationship of Amnesty, September 2006: 
Pakistan: Enforced disappearances in the 'war on terror'

And they called  it « war on terror » … 
here is the testimony of Mohamed Farag Bismillah, that has recovered his freedom, and tells facts similar to those lived by Kassim:

From October 2003 until May 2005, I was illegally detained by the U.S. government and held in CIA-run "black sites" with no contact with the outside world. On May 5, 2005, without explanation, my American captors removed me from my cell and cuffed, hooded, and bundled me onto a plane that delivered me to Sana'a, Yemen. I was transferred into the custody of my own government, which held me — apparently at the behest of the United States — until March 27, 2006, when I was finally released, never once having faced any terrorism-related charges. Since my release, the U.S. government has never explained why I was detained and has blocked all attempts to find out more about my detention.  …>>>

source: Huffington Post of February 19th 2009

 

ACLU : Justice Department Stands Behind Bush Secrecy In Extraordinary Rendition Case                                                                                                                                              February 9, 2009

NEW YORK – The Justice Department today repeated Bush administration claims of "state secrets" in a lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan for its role in the extraordinary rendition program. Mohamed et al. v. Jeppesen was brought on behalf of five men who were kidnapped and secretly transferred to U.S.-run prisons or foreign intelligence agencies overseas where they were interrogated under torture. The Bush administration intervened in the case, inappropriately asserting the "state secrets" privilege and claiming the case would undermine national security. Oral arguments were presented today in the American Civil Liberties Union's appeal of the dismissal, and the Obama administration opted not to change the government position in the case, instead reasserting that the entire subject matter of the case is a state secret.

The following can be attributed to Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU:

« Eric Holder's Justice Department stood up in court today and said that it would continue the Bush policy of invoking state secrets to hide the reprehensible history of torture, rendition and the most grievous human rights violations committed by the American government. This is not change. This is definitely more of the same. Candidate Obama ran on a platform that would reform the abuse of state secrets, but President Obama's Justice Department has disappointingly reneged on that important civil liberties issue. If this is a harbinger of things to come, it will be a long and arduous road to give us back an America we can be proud of again. »  …       >>>

Source: http://www.aclu.org/safefree/torture/38695prs20090209.html

ACLU In Court Today To Argue Extraordinary Rendition Case Should Go Forward   

February 9, 2009 – NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union is in court today arguing that its lawsuit should go forward against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan, Inc. for the company's role in the CIA's extraordinary rendition program. The Bush administration intervened in the case, improperly asserting the "state secrets" privilege and claiming the case would undermine national security interests. The lawsuit was dismissed in February 2008, and the ACLU is appealing that ruling.

"Under the Bush administration, the U.S. government used false claims of national security to dodge judicial scrutiny of extraordinary rendition," said Ben Wizner, an ACLU staff attorney who will argue the case for the plaintiffs. "This case presents the first test of the Obama administration's dedication to transparency and willingness to act on its condemnation of torture and rendition. The administration should unequivocally reject the Bush administration's abuse of the state secrets privilege and permit this case to go forward."   …    >>>

Source : http://www.aclu.org/safefree/torture/38692prs20090209.html

More information about the case: Boeing unit to face suit in CIA seizures by Claudio Gatti, International Herald Tribune, 2007-05-29

 

Daily Times - Pakistan                                                      Published :Thursday, January 15, 2009

Extraordinary rendition
by Niloufer Siddiqui
                                                        
While preventing possible future terrorist attacks is justifiably paramount among a state’s foreign policy concerns, to do so in a manner which comports with international laws and treaties is essential both to building global alliances necessary to combating terrorism and to ensuring that the rule of law is upheld              >>>
Source:
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2009\01\15\story_15-1-2009_pg3_4

 

THE NEW YORK TIMES                                                                         Published: June 21, 2008

HUNGER STRIKE BY HUNDREDS OF ISLAMISTS IN MOROCCO JAILS
By Souad Mekhennet

MARRAKESH, Morocco — A hunger strike among Islamists has been spreading across Morocco’s prisons since March, according to government officials and the head of a prisoner advocacy group.
At least 300 prisoners are now refusing some or all food, and 25 are now very weak, said Abderrahim Mouhtad, who leads the advocacy group, Ennassir, or Support. There were some reports that inmates were being fed intravenously.
Many of the hunger strikers, he said, are among the 1,400 people convicted of terrorism charges in the wake of the 2003 terrorist attacks in Casablanca, in which at least a dozen suicide bombers killed more than 40 people in strikes on a hotel, a restaurant and Jewish establishments. The hunger strikers are demanding new trials or immediate release, arguing that their trials were not fair and that any confessions were coerced.
Moulay Hafid Benhachem, the official in charge of Morocco’s prison system, which was recently reorganized, declined to be interviewed. But two Moroccan government officials confirmed hunger strikes in 11 prisons. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to discuss the matter publicly.
A hunger striker reached by telephone in a prison in the city of Kenitra, just north of Rabat, the capital, said the prisoners wanted justice. “We had been parts of mass trials and got long sentences, even though there had been no evidence,” said the inmate, who identified himself as Mourad Sarouf and said he had been falsely convicted of being a member of a group that planned attacks in Morocco. “We want to have fair trials.”
In the past, hunger strikes by Islamist inmates have won them extra rights, including exclusive use of conjugal rooms. But this time, the government has refused to negotiate, Mr. Mouhtad said. 
Another inmate reached by telephone, Abu Elkassim Britel, said he had drunk only water and eaten only small amounts of sugar since March to protest being convicted of membership in a terrorist organization, for which he was sentenced to nine years.
The European Parliament reported on his case in February 2007, saying Mr. Britel, an Italian citizen of Moroccan descent, had been arrested in Pakistan in March 2002, questioned by United States and Pakistani officials and then sent to Morocco. The report said that he had been under investigation in Italy before going to Pakistan, but that the Italian inquiry closed without any charges being filed. The parliamentary report urged the Italian government to take concrete steps to have him freed.
“I want my release,” he said. “Even the European Parliament has said that I am innocent, and asked the Italian government to get me out of here.
”One of the government officials said that a hunger striker had died — not one of the Islamist prisoners, but a man who had joined in to protest his own circumstances. Mr. Mouhtad confirmed that.
Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/21/world/africa/21morocco.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Hunger+Strike+
by+Hundreds+of+Islamists+in+Morocco+Jails&st=nyt&oref=slogin

ALKARAMA ALKARAMA                                                                                           12 June 2008
Morocco UPR before the Human Rights Council: When the essentials are hidden
                                                                                                         

AMNESTY INTERNATIONALAMNESTY INTERNATIONAL REPORT ‏2008‏‏‏                                 
STATE OF THE WORLD'S HUMAN RIGHTS                                
                                      28.05.08                                                                

ITALY


… ‘War on terror’

The Italian authorities failed to co-operate fully with investigations into human rights violations in the “war on terror” and came under criticism from the European Parliament for their involvement in renditions.

Renditions

… In February, the European Parliament condemned the extraordinary rendition of Italian citizen Abou Elkassim Britel in a resolution on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners. Abou Elkassim Britel was arrested in Pakistan in March 2002 by the Pakistani police and interrogated by US and Pakistani officials, then subsequently rendered to the Moroccan authorities. The Italian Ministry of Interior reportedly co-operated with foreign secret services concerning the case of Abou Elkassim Britel following his arrest in Pakistan.
http://report2008.amnesty.org/eng/regions/europe-and-central-asia/italy


MOROCCO AND WESTERN SAHARA


… Counter-terrorism

More than 100 suspected Islamist militants were arrested, mostly by police. However, the Directorate for Surveillance of the Territory, a security force accused in previous years of torture and other ill-treatment, allegedly participated in some arrests. …
Hundreds of Islamist prisoners sentenced after the 2003 Casablanca bombings continued to demand a judicial review of their trials, many of which were tainted with unexamined claims of confessions extracted under torture. Detainees in Sale prison staged hunger strikes to protest against poor prison conditions, including ill-treatment by prison guards and security forces external to the prison, lack of access to medical care, and restrictions on visits by families.
http://report2008.amnesty.org/eng/regions/middle-east-and-north-africa/morocco-and-western-sahara

 

 

Oukacha sit-in Annasir 27.05.08

Violent police intervention to disperse the families of the Islamic prisoners in Okacha.   
Yesterday the police intervened  to disperse the demonstration organized before the jail of Okacha in Casablanca by the mothers of 260 Islamic prisoners in hunger strike since 2 months. Al-Masae at tended the intervention of the commissioner of Hay Mohammadi against an aged woman that he slapped before ordering the scattering of "this herd" by all means. (2 central photos showing the commissioner grasping a woman who carries a baby on the back and making the gesture to hit her after having thrown her on the ground with the child). BAYANE AL-YOUM    
Source: Review of the press of the Embassy of France in Morocco – May 28, 2008:    http://www.ambafrance-ma.org/presse/index.cfm?pjour=1&jr=20080528 
    

 Oukasha sit-in Annassir 27.05.08                                               Salafia jihadia. Beat up, beat up…
The wives, mothers and children of the Islamic prisoners of Oukacha lived a bad quarter of hour on Tuesday May 27 th. Whereas they demonstrated before the penitentiary center of Aïn Sebaâ, a main commissioner threw himself on them, beating them of strokes, before the general stupefaction. Later in the day, Abderrahim Mouhtad, president of the Annasir association, promoter of the sit-in, was, for his part, manhandled and embarked (to the station) without other shape of explanation. "We are not going to remain some there, numerous NGO and people of the human rights counseled us to carry complaint. And it is what one is going to make", declared us Mouhtad notably. 

Source: Tel Quel 326, May 30 – June 5 2008 :
http://www.telquel-online.com/326/semaine_maroc_326.shtml

Photos: Oukasha sit-in Annassir 27.05.08, source: http://www.photos.aicpress.com/33/

 

In aircraft from Pakistan6 years ago Abou Elkassim Britel suffered extraordinary rendition from Pakistan to Morocco

ISLAMABAD, NIGHT BETWEEN 24 AND MAY 25TH 2002

Black hoods, a small team of professionals trained to the preparation of the 'package' to send with special flight.  
The Gulfstream V N379P of the CIA takes off at 1.30 o'clock (time in Greenwich) for Rabat Salé. 
The delivery happens during the morning of May 25th in the hands of the Moroccan secret services, the 'man-package' that is object of it, disappeared already since March 10th 2002, will be so up to February 11th 2003. 

A scene with the injustice – in progress and long over 6 years- that deprives a human being of the life, of the honour but it still doesn't succeed in taking off him his dignity: since last 31st March Kassim is on  hunger strike in the jail of Oukasha, where he is confined in scorn of his proved innocence.  

Frame from Andrea Minoglio's video "CONSEGNATO (Delivered)" to be seen here

                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                     April 2008

HRW - double jeopardy «The Bush administration claims that it has not transferred people to foreign custody for abusive interrogation. But we’ve documented more than a dozen cases in which prisoners were sent to Jordan for torture. » Joanne Mariner, terrorism and counter terrorism director at Human Rigths Watch


     HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH : Double Jeopardy : CIA renditions to Jordan


HRW - World Report 2008 :

 

       Morocco/western Sahara 


In the Moroccan jails                                                                                      29th  March 2008

In two articles of Mohamed Zainabi published by Le Reporter here made explicit the constant worry for the life of my husband. 
And while I am receiving more and more worrisome news from Oukasha, the Italian authorities persist in the absence of concrete initiatives for the liberation of Abou Elkassim Britel. 

What about the so many insurances and words of these same authorities to convince us that it was necessary to interrupt the strike of the hunger in presence of open negotiations and at a good point? 

Prisons: The hell to bars
A prisoner died lately in the jail of Oukasha, another committed suicide…
     >>>   

Original LE REPORTER: http://www.lereporter.ma/article.php3?id_article=5544, put on line January 20th, 2008

Alert: The prisoners hide to die
Between the months of January and February of this year, the Moroccan observatory of the jails  counted not less than 13 deaths in the different Moroccan jails…    >>>   

Original LE REPORTER: http://www.lereporter.ma/article.php3?id_article=6011, put on line March 10, 2008

                                                                             

DECLARATIONS AND REAL GRACES                                                                             24.03.08

From La Gazette du Maroc, March 7th 2008,
some lines from an article on the message that Mohammed VI addressed to the police last 4th March the police. I do it because they concern us nearly, from the long article by Abdellatif El Azizi I extract this passage:  
… the head of the State has been clear: "Our firm wish is to guarantee the exercise of the rights and the liberties, in the picture of the respect of the public order and the attachment to the supremacy of the law under the authority and the control of an independent justice. In fact the last word is up to to the justice, the alone one that is trained to pronounce itself, through the judgment, on the innocence or the guilt in the business that draws, and this out of every interference and to shelter from any influence of whoever. Concretely the Justice remains the protecting shield of the State by right, whose We are the Guarantor, and to the consolidation whose We watch over with the firm point of the virtues of the sincere patriotism and the promotion of the values of the responsible citizen". A clean refusal of every justification of methods out of law, it was also for the effectiveness. Just a respect of the rules and the common values, because it is perfectly established today that a war without objective neither law consecrates the triumph of the nihilism. In short, nothing justifies the appeal to degrading treatments, to practices of another epoch to extort confessions or to practise a justice of demolition as it happened after May 16th. The warning intervenes in the moment in which other trials open, in which some men are already behind the bars, in which air of 'déjà vu' is felt in the oral trials of accusation. The danger that the goal ends up justifying the means, that the evil ends up giving birth other evil, is so much that He doesn't miss to remember the absolute worry of justice. 
(between quotation marks the real message, the rest is comment of the journalist).
url: http://www.lagazettedumaroc.com/articles.php?r=2&sr=852&n=567&id_artl=16296

On March 19th Mohammed VI has granted 566 graces. Unfortunately and once more Abou Elkassim Britel has been excluded of it, accomplice the lukewarm and late Italian taking of position, with all probability. 

Two States, involved to different title in an ashamed and prolonged injustice, incapable to reach an equitable and respectful solution of the human rights, that, in other situations, both affirm to sustain and to practise. 

 

A video to tell of Kassim and of the renditions                                                February 2008

"CONSEGNATO – Unclaimed" by Andrea Minoglio video that tells the job of Giovanni Bianchini and the story of Kassim is on line. 
12 wise and aware minutes that make better than so many words the theft of the life and the dignity that from six years a man suffers. 

From March 10 th 2002 to…. 

At this link: http://www.minoglio.it/?p=63

For Kassim and all victims of this injustice!
Thanks Andrea! Thanks Giovanni!

Video's Title: CONSEGNATO (Delivered) – Idea and subject: Giovanni Bianchini and Andrea Minoglio - With: Giovanni Bianchini, Pietro Bailo and Stefano “KiNO” FerriShots, direction and montage: Andrea MinoglioProduction: http://www.minoglio.it/http://www.patatart.it/  - Year: 2008Duration: '12''15  - Formed: Dvcam

 

CAGEPRISONERS : Interview with the Wife of Abou Elkassim Britel, 09.01.08

 

Abou Elkassim Britel suspends the  hunger strike begun on November 16th.


Delivered in the afternoon the declaration written to the Direction of the jail
        January 7th 08


With this decision Kassim Britel welcomes the pressing invitation formulated by the Consul Stefano Pisotti that Thursday met him in the jail and he assured him that the Italian Authorities, working with appointment for the solution of its case, insist also for a real improvement of the conditions of detention. 


Kassim has accepted gladly to complete this gesture of trust waiting for the liberation that the Italian appointment makes us hold near. 

Next days will be critical for the conditions of Kassim that gradually returns to feed himself, after so much time of abstention from the food. He’s physically weak, even if his heart is firm, on every phone call he asks me to thank those who sustain us and all those people that wrote us mail of encouragement and worry, thanks!  


Another important news. 
On Thursday 10th Kassim will receive the visit of a delegation of Italian parliamentarians and journalists, organized by the on. Ezio Locatelli. In the afternoon it will follow a press conference at the Italian Consulate in Casablanca. More detailed news in the next days. 

 

AND WHAT ABOUT THE PETITION? 

Please, undersign and invite those who are next to you to do it, in this moment of negotiations, of declared appointment is more than ever fundamental to insist in the application of liberation of Abou Elkassim Britel. Eleven months ago another delegation of parliamentarians made us hope in a positive solution and nothing happened. 

The share of each of you, every new discussion opened on your sites and blog are other footsteps toward the result that we are trying to get: an action of justice for a man that has suffered a lot and for his family, if you have not done it yet sign the petition on line. Thanks still                     khadija 

 

 

49. Day Of Strike Of the Hunger                                                           January 3rd  2008     

We make the point, Monday 31st December has been an important day.  

For the first time and graces to Radio Popolare I talked to an exponent of the Government, the deputy minister Patrizia Sentinelli, that besides said: " We have to work with Morocco because this unfair detention can end as soon as possible. We are working because he gets the grace ". 

Then I received a phone call from the ambassador of Italy in Rabat, Umberto Lucchesi Palli. 

Both the interlocutors expressed worry for the health of Kassim and asked the interruption of the hunger strike, and they assured in the meantime the maximum effort for the solution.  

We have appreciated it, Kassim is thinking about it and he asks an improvement of the conditions of detention notably worsen with the transfer to Oukasha.  

 

A man is dying in a Moroccan prison. In a nearly general indifference. This man didn’t get the publicity from which Ingrid Bettancourt or the Bulgarian nurses could profit. However this man is: 1 – innocent; 2 – a citizen of the European Union. Unfortunately for him, he is a Moslem. Will Rome and Brussels at the end, before it becomes to late, hear the voice of his wife Khadija, who fights almost alone to save the life of Kassim?              Tlaxcala

url: http://www.tlaxcala.es/detail_artistes.asp?lg=es&reference=95

 

What you can do to help :

fairtrialsi-logo-piccolo.gif

promotes an action, see :
 

Spotlight and the action for Abou Elkassim Britel :

• Write to the following to express your concerns about this case and ask that Mr Britel be pardoned and released :

o Italian Embassy in Morocco: Italian Embassy and Consulate, 2 Zankat Idriss Al Ahzar, Rabat, Morocco;

o Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Massimo D’Alema, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Piazzale della Farnesina, 1 – 00194 Rome, Italy;

o Italian Minister of Justice Clemente Mastella, Minister of Justice, Largo Luigi Daga 2, I-00164 ROME, Italy;

o The King of Morocco His Royal Highness King Mohammed VI, King of Morocco, Royal Palace, Rabat, Morocco


• Write an email of support, which will be forwarded to Mr Britel’s wife
.
(FTI contact: http://www.fairtrials.net/index.php/contact_us/).

Kassim and Khadija thank all those people who are sustaining them, every mail, every message is  an help and precious encouragement for us, thanks!

December 2007

 

for writing to :

 

- the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano : https://servizi.quirinale.it/webmail/

- the Italian President of the Council, Romano Prodi : http://www.governo.it/scrivia/scrivi_a_presidente.asp

- the Italian Government : http://www.governo.it/scrivia/scrivi_a_presidente.asp

- Khadija, mail to info@giustiziaperkassim.net

                                                                                                              

 

40° Day Of Hunger Strike                                                                        December 25th 2007

Kassim keeps on not eating, he insists and repeats his application to be released finally. 

Six days ago my husband moved to the jail of Oukasha, in Casablanca.

Here conditions are worse, the restrictions are many, but above all there is not consideration for the fact that he is on hunger strike.  

The damp cell and in bad state, from the windows without glasses a lot of cold air enters coming from the near ocean.  

Until today they have not given him the covers to stretch to earth to sleep. His companions help him, they have cleaned him the cell and have looked for some covers. Kassim tries to save the few strengths, he is very definite and physically more and more weak.  

The night is difficult, because he doesn't succeed in sleeping and for the cold.  

In this jail there are also restrictions for the sights of his relatives, for the hours of opening of the cell and for the air… 

The Italian Consulate called the Direction of the jail, but Kassim didn’t see some result. 

Italy. 22nd December. The Mayor of Bergamo, lawyer Roberto Bruni, assured his support: he will write a letter to the Italian Government and the Minister of Foreign Affairs to solicit an appointment and a rapid resolution of the case of my husband.  

21st December. The Government answered to the interpellation of the on. Ezio Locatelli on the Britel’s case: I don't find substantial novelties in comparison to one year ago. There is not contact with me or with the lawyer Longhi. 

The life of Abou Elkassim Britel is in serious danger. Inform the newspapers, the associations of Human Rights, the political leaders and the parliamentarians of your country about this story, spread the information in Internet and participate in the action of Fair Trials International, thanks                khadija

 

                                                                                                                     December 15th 2007 

Today are thirty days that Kassim Britel refuses the food: days without rest, of silence, of suffering, of attended. 

In Aïn Bourja, Kassim tries to be held right when he prays, ignoring the beatings accelerated that cuts him the breath, the heavy head, the stomach that shouts famine, the aching and aqueous viscera, the back that seems broken,.

Yesterday he vanished, his mates helped him, the physician counted his ratings: he is reduced very much, but his determination grows hour by hour, a determination that nothing can knock down.

We speak one another on the phone, I feel humiliated, once more time, by the silence of our country, by my work days that go by as if it was nothing, tortured by the perspective that he can die but bound with him until the end, since this injustice that deprived us of life must end, one way or another.

And I tell him in my better way about good that we will have, and he has a thought of faith, a good word that lifts the unsaid and hidden punishment. With him I am calm, I know that won't happen us nothing that has not been destined to us. 

In our empty house, job as always for the life of my husband, punishment and anger they are intolerable, Kassim has already suffered too violence and deprivations, I know that it won't withstand for a long time, he already leans now him to a baton to move some footstep, yesterday he has not been able to meet his sister…  

For the due respect to every life, for the due justice to the innocent victim of one "war" not his, for our family separated from almost six years, may the Italian Government is finally decide to bring this citizen home!                    khadija

 

Why Kassim struck since November 16th?                                 December 5th, 2007 

Abou Elkassim Britel, the only Italian citizen, as we know, victim of extraordinary rendition is on hunger strike since November 16th in prison of Äin Bourja, Casablanca.

His protest for improved prison conditions and against acts of serious violence in the past and present, is now aiming to obtain his release, as announced on 19th November.

My husband has signed and sent a clear statement to the Moroccan Ministry of Justice on 3rd December, at this regard.

His decision is firm and reasoned. Concern for his life is very serious, but, we reiterate, this is the only action possible.

Abou Elkassim Britel suffers facts of unprecedented severity in terms of human and civil rights from 2002.

The case is followed by several international NGOs.
I cite only the most recent intervention: Amnesty International has added the story of Abou Elkassim Britel in the report about Italy at UN Committee against Torture in April 2007; on November 14th, 2007, Fair Trials International wrote to the ministers D'Alema and Mastella to support the immediate release.

In February 2007, the European Parliament "calls on the Italian government to take concrete measures to obtain the immediate release of Abou Elkassim Britel" in the 'Resolution on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners'.

I ask that the Italian government will activate immediately to restore this own citizen to his life and  to his family, and avoid a dramatic conclusion of which  it would be responsible.
And we hope we are given an answer, even personal, because the continuation of this silence towards us  makes increase our anxiety beyond measure
                                                                                                                   
Khadija

                

The hunger strike continues                                  1st December 2007 

Kassim has been being on hunger strike for many days by now. 

The open problems, the promised and postponed solutions have renewed the vigorous movement of protest in the Moroccan jails.  From 16th November the strike is again generalized.

The application to the Moroccan government is for substantial improvements under the conditions of detention, but above all that the violations of the right, constituted by the innumerable secret detentions and by the irregular trials, are rectified.  

This suffering has lasted for a long time, putting into risk the life seems the only possible action in a country that from years ignores the cry unjustly launched by the so many Moslems prisoners and from their families. 

Kassim, that had held to forewarn the Italian authorities of his action, has continued to abstain from the food in solidarity with his companions.  

His strike is a precise application to the Italian State to intervene with steadiness and to get his liberation.

The news from Äin Bourja

30th November, nobody has entered to visit his darlings in the jail. Around 150 relatives of the prisoners they have remained in sit-in in front of the entry in sign of solidarity and protest. 

Inside the silence is unreal, sometimes broken from the arrival of an ambulance, today for 10 times the front door has opened for loading a brother and to bring him in the hospital. 

For the prayer in mosque the brothers, that we count, are less and less. The other ones pray in the cell, they fear their weakness and to feel badly themselves in front of the companions, they are stretched out and economize their strengths. 

The physician is now always available, the State doesn't want other corpses, not now. In the last months, some suspicious deaths have been criticized by the media: denial of lifesaver medicines and lack of assistance. The last one is dead for a crisis of asthma, at night, without cares, he has uselessly asked help.    

I speak with Kassim on the phone, he has the short breath, he has a headache, the pressure is very low.  

My husband doesn't tell me if he faints, he doesn't want that I am worried about him, I know it.  

I ask him news, I tell him that I have to write to make to know about this tragedy that is consuming there.  

He wants to know if the Italian State has responded to his appeal, no, nothing! he  is disappointed, I feel it, but how can I lie him? The phone calls are short, it is difficult to find words of hope.

Around me I feel a great void, yet I don't surrender me. How do I tell and give the sense of so much pain… 

We need help, a concrete help. Is The life of my husband is in danger more than ever, will they let him die indeed?   

In twenty days there is the most important Islamic party, 'Aid ul-Adha or the Party of the Sacrifice. Last year we waited his liberation anxiously, another year is spent and the problem is always there, is a life worth less than nothing? 

 

 

14.11.2007 – Fair Trials International, the association of lawyers English, deals with European citizens, involved in penal procedures abroad, whose rights have been violated or risk to be it. FTI wrote to :

- The King of Morocco His Royal Highness King Mohammed VI

- Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Massimo D’Alema

- Italian Minister of Justice Clemente Mastella

 

Free Kassim !

In May 2002, the Italian citizen Abou Elkassim Britel, handcuffed, hooded and denuded, dressed only in a sanitary diaper, was chained and then transferred by the CIA from Pakistan to Morocco, where he had been tortured by Moroccan Intelligence Agents, and where he is currently incarcerated.

In May 2003, freed without having been accused, after a long and terrible secret detention, at the moment of reentry to Italy, he was once again kidnapped and had disappeared In May 2002, the Italian citizen Abou Elkassim Britel, handcuffed, hooded and denuded, dressed only in a sanitary diaper, was chained and then transferred by the CIA from Pakistan to Morocco; this time the Italian Secret Services were accomplice. He underwent another four months of secret detention and was again tortured, then he was put on trial without any kind of guarantee. First he was condemned to fifteen years in jail, then the sentence was reduced to nine years. Today he is incarcerated in the Äin Bourja prison of Casablanca, where he will be freed in 2012.

Kassim is innocent of the accusations made against him, those of terrorism, as is clear from the archiving of the Italian investigation. The European Parliament has solicited the Italian government to take concrete measures in order to obtain his immediate release. The Italian State is silent and therefore, the injustice against Abou Elkassim Britel continues.

A movement in favour of the release of Elkassim – which asks the Italian government to commit itself in a clear and strong way – is developing in Italy and in the world.

Be part of it!

To learn what you can do, please contact us at this address: info@giustiziaperkassim.net
For more information, see http://www.giustiziaperkassim.net//


Britel’s letter to Italian Authorities, 12th January 2007

Britel’s wife: letter to the Minister of Foreign Affaires Massimo D’Alema, 17th January 2007

 

The European Parliament

 63. Condemns the extraordinary rendition of Italian citizen Abou Elkassim Britel, who was arrested in Pakistan in March 2002 by the Pakistani police and interrogated by US and Pakistani officials, and subsequently rendered to the Moroccan authorities and imprisoned in the detention facility 'Temara', where he remains detained; emphasises that the criminal investigations in Italy against Abou Elkassim Britel were closed with no charges having been brought;

64. Regrets that, according to the documentation provided to the Temporary Committee by Abou Elkassim Britel's lawyer, the Italian Ministry of Internal Affairs was in 'constant cooperation' with foreign secret services concerning the case of Abou Elkassim Britel, following his arrest in Pakistan;

65. Urges the Italian Government to take concrete steps in order to obtain the immediate release of Abou Elkassim Britel from the Resolution on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners (2006/2002 (INI)) / February 2007


Renditions: Italy / Morocco
Italian authorities drag their feet in Britel case                                                  15.04.2007 

Abou Elkassim Britel, an Italian citizen with Moroccan origins who has been in detention since his arrest in Pakistan in March 2002 and subsequent rendition to Morocco, who the European Parliament's TDIP commission identified as a rendition victim, calling on "the Italian government to take concrete steps in order to obtain the immediate release of Abou Elkassim Britel", remains in Äin Borja prison in Casablanca, as his wife and lawyer criticised the Italian authorities' inaction.

He was interrogated by CIA officers following his detention in Pakistan, and was detained in a secret Moroccan detention facility in Temara, about which several reports of torture and ill-treatment have surfaced, and where Britel himself claim he was tortured, in May 2002, before his short-lived release in February 2003 (he was re-arrested in May 2003 and subsequently tried and sentenced for terrorist offences)

In an emotional letter to foreign affairs minister Massimo D'Alema on 17 January 2007, Britel's wife complained about the government's failure to take any initiative, after undersecretary Luigi Li Gotti committed to do so on its behalf in parliament to secure his "immediate release". Noting that the former government's responsibility in the case does not exempt its successor from "acting on behalf of a citizen whose rights have been so seriously offended, Khadija Anna Lucia Pighizzini reminds D'Alema of her "demanding and solitary battle" for her "husband's life", which she reputes to be in danger, particularly after the latest disappointment of not having been included in the amnesty decreed on 1 March 2007 by king Mohammed VI on occasion of the birth of his second child on occasion of the birth of his second child.

She complains about the failure by the Italian government to take any initiative to support Britel's inclusion in the amnesty, which would have accompanied an appeal and visit to Morocco by a delegation of Italian MPs and MEPs on behalf of Britel and may have been expected after the call issued in report by the TDIP commission, arguing that even an informal step by a high ranking authority could have made an important difference, in reference to the case of an English citizen, Abdellatif Merroun, who was pardoned after the appointment of an international expert for his defence by the British government.

Efforts by lawyer Francesca Longhi to visit Britel in prison in Casablanca on 11 April 2007 were stifled by a series of mishaps that rendered her trip to Morocco fruitless, leading her to complain about the Italian consulate's conduct. When she asked the consulate about the proceedings required for her to visit Britel a month before her scheduled trip, she was told that the prison director merely had to informed of the visit, without any need for a formal authorisation.

After repeated enquiries, Longhi was assured that everything was in order, but when she arrived, she found that a rejection had been received from the prison director, on the basis of Britel's insistence that she visit him officially as his lawyer and not as a relative (Britel's wife's cousin), the procedure that the consulate had preferred to avoid the risk of his lawyer's request being rejected (the consulate noted that this had happened in past instances).

Longhi was informed that the bureaucratic procedure for an official visit, which was explained in detail to her, would have taken three weeks, leading her to ask why she had not been told this when she first enquired, as she would have had no problem complying with the requirements and had contacted the consulate in time to do so? And why the prison authorities were only informed that she was his lawyer long after he had expressed his disagreement with the modality that had been decided for the visit?

In response to Longhi's criticism, the Italian consul Stefano Pisotti expressed his "regret" and explained that Britel first expressed his opposition to the envisaged form that the visit would take to a consular official on 27 March, resulting in a meeting with prison authorities notifying them of the imminent visit of Britel's lawyer during which assurances were given that there would be no problem. Denying any "omission" by the consulate and describing the circumstances of the case as "unprecedented", Pisotti also noted that the consulate only found out about the delay in obtaining authorisation for the visit very late, a day before it was scheduled, and is not responsible for explaining the "late and unexpected change of direction by the Moroccan authorities".

Sources
TDIP commission report on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners, 26.1.2007; Letter from Khadija Anna Lucia Pighizzini to Massimo D'Alema, Bergamo, 17.1.2007; E-mail communications by Francesca Longhi and the Italian consul in Rabat, Stefano Pisotti, April 2007.

Previous Statewatch coverage

Appeal for Britel pardon: http://www.statewatch.org/news/2007/jan/10britel.htm
Britel's account of his plight: http://www.statewatch.org/news/2007/jan/letteraKassim.pdf/

From: STATEWATCH

url : http://www.statewatch.org/rendition/rendition.html

TDIP
Temporary Committee on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners

TDIP – Working document number 7 on extraordinary renditions, 16.11.2006

TDIP – Working document number 8 on the companies linked to CIA, aircraft used by the CIA, and the European countries in which CIA aircraft have made stopovers, 16.11.2006

TDIP – Working document number 9 on certain European countries analysed during the work of the Temporary Committee, 26.02.2007

TDIP – Working's documents

Transportation and illegal detention of prisoners – European Parliament resolution on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners, February 2007


FURTHER DOCUMENTS

interpellation 20th February 2007

Petition of pardon, January 2007

urgent interpellation 4th December 2006

 

HUMAN RIGHTS

Amnesty International: Italy- A briefing to the UN Committee against Torture, April 2007

Human Rights Watch: Morocco/Western Sahara, report 2007

Amnesty International: Pakistan Human rights ignored in the ‘war on terror’, September 2006

Amnesty International: Torture in the “anti-terrorism” campaign – the case of Témara detention centre, June 2004

Fidh: Morocco Human Rights abuses in the flight against terrorism, 2004

Human Rights Watch: Morocco: Human Rights at a Crossroads, October 2004

 

PRESS

Government Improperly Invokes “State Secrets” Claim in Attempt to Throw Out CIA Rendition Case Against Boeing Subsidiary – ACLU, 10.19.2007

Boeing unit to face suit in CIA seizures by Claudio Gatti, International Herald Tribune, 2007-05-29

Statewatch News on line – Britel, 2006-2007