Seminar on the “Humane treatment of prisoners in Moroccan prisons” held in Rabat

During the seminar
During the seminar
Morocco

On 11 and 12 September 2018, the IRZ together with the General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR) organised a second seminar on the “Humane treatment of prisoners in Moroccan prisons” in Rabat, Morocco. The event was held as part of the “Cooperation with the Kingdom of Morocco on Prison Management” project, which is being supported by the German Foreign Office and împlemented by the IRZ between 2017 and 2019.

Two employees of the Berlin prison system provided the IRZ with expert support in the organisation of the seminar:

  • Stefan Tydecks, a psychologist in the admissions department at the Moabit penal institution, and
  • Michael Weise, Head of General Law Enforcement at the Tegel prison.

To welcome the participants, talks were given by the Deputy Director of the DGAPR, Hassan Hamina, and Antje Gade, Head of the Legal and Consulate department at the German Embassy in Morocco. Hassan Hamina described the legal foundations for the humane treatment of prisoners applicable in Morocco. The Moroccan speakers emphasised the importance of human rights as a fundamental component of the DGAPR’s strategy for safeguarding the humane treatment of prisoners. The Nelson Mandela Rules in the revised 2015 version are a fundamental part of this strategy.

The German experts also referred to the Nelson Mandela Rules as the basis of treatment in accordance with human rights. In Germany, these rules also govern the process for dealing with groups of prisoners, which present a particular challenge for prison staff.

The main role of the prison system in Germany is to prepare prisoners for their release by providing reintegration measures. During their training, prison officers should learn about the humane treatment of prisoners. Current examples of violations of human rights should be presented, allowing the officers to reflect on their own self-image, their expectations and their profession. The DGAPR training programmes also have the humane treatment of prisoners as their objective. In this respect, the training centre works with educational programmes on the basic principles of human rights.

The discussions following on from the presentations focussed primarily on the potential for prisoners to oppose enforcement plans and on their fundamental right to appeal.

With the help of these components of the project named above, the following objectives should be achieved:

  • a better understanding of breaches of the rules by prisoners and officers,
  • potential sanctions in prisons for enforcement officers,
  • better explanations for prisoners and their relatives of their rights and obligations and
  • closer cooperation with human rights institutions and organisations.

Seminar on social and psychological support for prisoners held in Rabat

Participants and speakers at the seminar in Rabat
Participants and speakers at the seminar in Rabat
Morocco

In close cooperation with the Moroccan General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR), the IRZ organised a seminar on “Social and psychological support for prisoners” on 11 and 12 July 2018 in Rabat, Morocco. The seminar was held as part of the “Cooperation with the Kingdom of Morocco on Prison Management” project, which is being supported by the German Foreign Office and coordinated by the IRZ between 2017 and 2019.

The project allows better networking for prisoners and improved connections with their social environment and society, as well as the increased involvement of Moroccan civil society in providing social and psychological support for prisoners.

Two experts from the Berlin prison system supported the IRZ in carrying out the seminar: 

  • Vera Schiepe, Group Leader at the Heidering penal institution, and
  • Catharina Troike-Yudha, a psychologist at the women’s penal institution in Berlin.

The Deputy Director of the General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration in Morocco, Hassan Hamina, welcomed the participants to the event. He emphasised that reintegration and the maintenance of safety were the main priorities in prisons.

The Moroccan experts pointed out that social, psychological and cognitive care is an important factor in the reintegration of prisoners. They use international standards for diagnosing and classifying prisoners. When preparing prisoners for release, psychologists therefore work in close cooperation with social workers in Moroccan prisons. As well as informing prisoners about their rights and obligations, they are also responsible for the reintegration of prisoners. Working alongside non-governmental organisations, they develop measures to raise awareness, as well as organising cultural and religious events.

The German experts, Vera Schiepe and Catharina Troike-Yudha, stressed in their lectures that the protection of the general public and the reintegration of prisoners are objectives of the prison system. In open prisons, prisoners should be as involved as possible in society. Social workers are also superior to enforcement officers when it comes to the care of prisoners and are therefore a key point of contact. With the involvement of external staff, psychotherapeutic treatment is provided in closed and open prisons in Germany and is frequently continued after the prisoner’s release.

During the discussions, the Moroccan participants pointed out the important role played by diagnostic procedures in the identification of prisoners at risk. Another subject that frequently came up in discussion was the care of employees in prisons.

The seminar was met with great interest. A second seminar on the same topic is due to take place in November 2018.

Introduction to toxicology seminar in Casablanca

Participants and speakers at the seminar
Participants and speakers at the seminar
Morocco

On 10 July 2018, the IRZ together with the Moroccan Public Prosecutor’s Office in Casablanca, organised a seminar on “An introduction to toxicology”. This took place as part of the “Cooperation with the Kingdom of Morocco in the field of legal and forensic medicine, with particular consideration paid to the concerns of the Moroccan justice system” project. The IRZ is coordinating this project between 2017 and 2019 as part of the project financed by the German Foreign Office (“Transformation partnerships with North Africa/the Middle East”).

Experts from the Berlin Charité gave the participants from public prosecutor’s offices and legal and forensic medicine an overview of toxicology in Germany and pointed out the methods that are currently used for detecting toxic effects. 

Following an introduction to the legal framework and terms of forensic toxicology, the speakers talked about the systems used for toxicological examinations. Urine, blood, hair and organs can be used to make statements about the possible cause of death by various substances. 

The German experts used examples of cases to demonstrate the particularities of carbon monoxide poisoning, which was used back in ancient times as a means of suicide or murder weapon. The last lecture of the seminar was about the advantages and disadvantages of hair analysis. The lecture dealt in particular with the time window for proving substance misuse and the formal specifications for analysing test subjects. 

The participants actively took part in the rounds of questions and discussions that followed the lectures. The introduction to toxicology was a good starting point for talking about the current situation and the cooperation between toxicology institutes, legal and forensic medicine and the public prosecutor’s office in Morocco. Unlike in Germany, toxicology in Morocco is not associated with institutes of legal and forensic medicine, which means that communications between the two different authorities do not always run smoothly. 

Further seminars on legal and forensic medicine are planned for Morocco after the summer break. The Moroccan partners continue to show a great deal of interest in the subject.