Farida Aarrass, sister of Belgian-Moroccan prisoner Ali Aarrass who was taken to hospital on Tuesday, started a symbolic hunger strike in the Parc du Petit Sablon near the Foreign Office on Wednesday at around 2.30pm. A few supporters joined her. They are staying in precarious conditions with only one tent and no other equipment. Farida Aarrass will be there until midday on Thursday. Another campaigner will then take her place.
Farida Aarrass managed to speak to representatives of the National Council for Human Rights in Morocco in the afternoon, and received news of her brother’s health. Ali Aarrass is in a critical state, but is refusing to interrupt the hunger strike he started on August 25th. He is undergoing a comprehensive medical check-up. “The Foreign Office boasts of excellent relations with Morocco,” points out Farida Aarrass. “Why not take advantage and get consular support for my brother? Belgium was sentenced at the first instance and on appeal, and the state is now appealing again so it can refuse these consular services. What a shameful situation!”
She accuses the state of discrimination against Moroccan-born Belgians because Moroccan citizenship is for life and linked to origins, not birthplace: “My brother has full Belgian citizenship. He was born in Spain where he lived for 15 years, before moving to Belgium and living there for 28 years. He has never lived in Morocco.”