RABAT - Islamists who say they are being unfairly held in Moroccan prisons are staging hunger strikes to put more pressure on the new government to release them, according to campaigners who are in contact with the prisoners.

Letters sent from jail by the inmates and shown to Reuters by their supporters, describe a series of protests by prisoners, followed by punishments by their jailers that include force feeding and torture.

Officials in the north African kingdom deny torturing or mistreating the prisoners, saying that this was a lie by inmates to try to attract attention to their cases.

But the accounts from inside jails show that, even after 12 years of King Mohammed VI's reformist rule and a fresh burst of reforms after last year's "Arab Spring" that were lauded by Western governments, Morocco has yet to follow through fully on promises to clean up its justice system.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger