Ali Aarrass

Ali Aarrass case: states should use consular protection to stop the torture of their citizens abroad

REDRESS has filed a third-party intervention to the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Ali Aarrass, who was deported from Spain to Morocco and tortured there.

Ali Aarrass, a Belgiam-Moroccan national, was forcibly returned by Spain to Morocco on 14 December 2010, despite warnings from the UN Human Rights Committee that doing so would place the father-of-one at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

Ali said he was tortured over at least 4-5 days in detention in Morocco, including by being beaten, waterboarded, given electric shocks and raped with a glass bottle.

The resulting confession formed the basis of his conviction for using weapons illegally and supporting a terrorist organisation.

REDRESS recently intervened in the case that Ali Aarrass’ lawyers have brought before the European Court of Human Rights. They were the ones who tried to stop his extradition from Spain in 2008 and have campaigned on his behalf.

In our third-party intervention, we are arguing that a state should have an obligation to use consular protection to try to put an end to the torture of one of its nationals abroad, and that the discretion for a government to choose not to act should be extremely limited in such situations.

This is the first time that the European Court of Human Rights will address this point.

Read more about the case here.