The human rights situation in Morocco is seriously deteriorating. Despite our repeated calls to the authorities to release the detainees of what is been known the Rif Region movement and the village of Oulad El Sheikh (Qal’at El Saragna), they have ignored all these demands and have continued to use excessive force against peaceful demonstrations in these areas, Zagora. In October, the Moroccan authorities extended their arrest campaigns against peaceful protesters to 11 minor detainees between the ages of 10 and 14, who were brought to trial in Al Hoceima on 20 December. Some reported that they had been tortured in police stations, which in our view violated the freedoms and rights guaranteed In the Constitution and national laws. We also note with great concern the rise in the number of detainees of the Rif Movement to about 1000 detainees, mostly young people. The most serious of these is the statements made by some of the detainees and their lawyers during the trials about their exposure to serious types of psychological and physical torture. And threatening others with persecution that may affect their family members. In view of the violations, they are in clear violation of the rules of international law, especially the Convention against Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The Moroccan courts also issued harsh sentences to many of the detainees, with the accompanying trials of large violations of the law affecting the independence and impartiality of the Moroccan judiciary. The Casablanca court rejected a report by the National Council for Human Rights as the official body to broadcast such cases accusing the authorities of torturing detainees and refrained from conducting any in-depth medical experience. The Public Prosecutor’s Office rejected the request of the defense lawyers to examine the effects of torture on the body of the detainee Abdul Mohsen Attari and appointed another defense team against the will of the detainees themselves and their families, despite the fact that the defense is still adhering to its right to defend its clients. In a related matter, AFD International expresses its deep concern at the deterioration of press freedom in Morocco. Authorities have imprisoned journalist Hamid Mahdoui without respect for the minimum conditions of conviction and fair trial. The trial of blogger Abdulkabir al-Hurr (who has been detained since last August) and his colleague Omar Lahimim on charges of praising terrorism, as well as the banning of French journalist Vanessa d’Escouro from reaching Al Hoceima on 21 December, continues. We are in AFD International , and in light of these continuing and serious violations, we call on the Moroccan authorities to: 1. Release of all detainees of the Rif movement, including Naser al-Zafzafi, Muhammad Jalul, Rabie al-Ablaq, Nabil Ahmieg, and the release of the detainees of Qal’at al-Saragna and Zakoura.
- The immediate release of journalist Hamid al-Mahdawi and blogger Abdul Kubir al-Hur, the suspension of all prosecutions against journalists and bloggers, and respect for the right of journalists to carry out their work freely.
- Raising strict security procedures for the countryside and Jerrada, and dialogue with the population to provide them with decent living conditions and to avoid repeating the recent painful incidents (the death of two young people in Jerradah and 15 women in Essaouira)
- Launch independent investigation into the death of Mohsen Fikri, Imad al-Atabi and Abdelhafid Haddad.
Middle East and North Africa Department
26 December 2017