Three cases of suicide in prison in the space of a month and a half raise questions about their motivations and their refusal to admit their new reality as prisoners. All these people have one thing in common, they are detained in the context of very serious terrorism cases, involving murders, and all have an extremist Islamist ideology motivating these facts.
How to explain that people referring to extremist “Muslim” kill themselves when suicide is prohibited in the Muslim religion? Every Muslim knows that life is sacred and only God gives and takes it, and that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) condemned suicide in his prophecies with clear warnings about being sent to hell of those who commit it.
Although terrorists referring to warrior Fatwas kill themselves by carrying out suicide attacks, or in other cases (such as the great leaders of these extremist organizations) by killing themselves just before being captured to avoid passing admittedly, suicide in prison after conviction is a rare event.
In Morocco, only 5 or 6 cases of suicide in a penitentiary among people sentenced for Salafism have been recorded since the beginning of the facts of Salafism and jihad, according to Abdelouahab Rafiki, researcher in Islamic studies.
But for nearly a month and a half, the cases of suicide among prisoners sentenced for terrorism have been chained, suggesting the creation of a trend.
On February 28, the prison administration announced the suicide of an inmate from the local prison of Oujda sentenced to the death penalty (suspended since 1993, editor’s note) in the case of the “Chamharouch cell”, the assassination terrorist motivation of two Scandinavian tourists in the mountains in 2018.
Two days later, on March 1, the administration of the local prison of Ras Al Maa in Fez, announced the suicide of an inmate convicted under the anti-terrorism law, without giving further details of his case. The two men committed suicide by using their clothes as a rope which they tied to the window of their cell.
Thursday, April 13, another case of suicide in prison was announced by the prison administration. It involves this time one of the two three main suspects in the case of the murder of the policeman of Errahma near Casablanca, always with terrorist motivations.
” There is a common point between all these cases of suicides in Morocco, it is that they concern people who have committed terrible crimes. Those who killed, who slit their throats, those who committed the most abject crimes possible, are those who committed suicide,” says Abdelouahab Rafiki, alias Abou Hafs.
According to the researcher who exposes hypotheses to explain the events, there are several scenarios to explain the motivations behind their suicide. “The prisoner experiences a sort of psychological struggle against himself when he realizes that he has taken his life in serious cases. He realizes when he is isolated in his cell without outside contact with other inmates, that he is no longer convinced that his crime was a religious project and that it stemmed from a religious prophecy”, he advances.
And to add: “He lives with more intensity the events that led him to prison. Every day and all the time he only thinks about it, and as a result of this psychological situation, he believes that suicide, despite being forbidden by religion, would be a less restrictive solution than this torment he traverse ».
Asked why, according to him, these detainees only begin to feel remorse and to realize the gravity of their actions only after their incarceration, Abdelouahab Rafiki, points out that before implementing their terrorist project, “they are in a different state of mind, they experience a kind of enthusiasm, a state of conviction, of haste in achieving their objective. They have dreams and do not imagine ending up in prison, it is only after their incarceration that they come up against reality and begin to analyze what they have done”.
As a second hypothesis, the researcher notes that these people may think that suicide is better than living for several years in what they consider to be “injustice” and “taghout” (what is worshiped apart from God. Here this would be injustice and the laws of a country likened to a tyrant, note) according to their vision, because they would be convinced that their terrorist acts were justified and that God will forgive them.
Finally, for Abu Hafs, the jihadists who have committed murders despite it being acts prohibited and reprehensible by the Muslim religion, always find justifications to legitimize their actions and this naturally also concerns the justification of their suicide which , is also prohibited by Islam.
Concerning the repetition and the short lapse of time between the last three cases of suicide of prisoners imprisoned within the framework of terrorism cases and the media coverage of the cases, our interlocutor affirms that after the dissemination of this type of information, the ideas suicides are spreading and “It shows some people that there are other ways out” than spending your life mentally struggling between four walls.
“Cases of suicide under these circumstances have already happened in the past, but at distant times. What characterizes these last events is their coming together in time, and that we had never seen before. emphasizes the researcher.
These cases were very rare from 2003 to 2017 mainly because the conditions of detention were different from those of today, he notes, explaining that at the time, even when convicted of acts of terrorism, the inmates could socialize by meeting other inmates, joking, walking, laughing.
“Their conditions were much lighter in prison”he underlines, while at present, prisoners sentenced for serious crimes are subjected to “strict measures since the General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR) classified detainees according to the crimes committed”in particular by placing the most dangerous criminals in solitary individual cells, “which can lead to suicidal thoughts”.
It should be noted that in the case of the prisoner involved with two other people in the murder of the Errahma policeman – killed to seize his official weapon and commit terrorist attacks and bank robberies to finance the actions of the extremist group – his individual case is different from the other two detainees.
He committed suicide when he still has not been convicted and has been in pre-trial detention since March 27. “It is the first time that an individual kills himself before he is condemned by justice. And in this case, we can hypothesize that he preferred to kill himself rather than reveal secrets that concern his acolytes or the people who are part of his terrorist plan. Rafiki analysis.