Amnesty International Condemns “Harassment” of Moroccan Human Rights Defenders

Amnesty International said Morocco is stepping up their harassment of human rights defenders and activists with some activists having already been jailed for voicing their opinions on social media.

Amnesty International accused Rabat of using bogus charges to detain activists, in a bid to stamp out criticism of authorities and called for their immediate release.

Amnesty’s statement came after Saida El-Alami, a Moroccan human rights defender and blogger was arrested on 23 March for “insulting public officials.”

“The Moroccan authorities are harassing and intimidating activists through unfounded criminal investigations and bogus charges in a shameless bid to silence critical voices and clamp down on peaceful activism,” said Amna Guellali, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

Police forces also arrested blogger Mohamed Bouzlouf, who had expressed solidarity with El Alami on Facebook, on 26 March, according to Amnesty International.

“A court in Ouarzazate sentenced him to two months in prison on 4 April. Two other activists, Abderrazak Boughanbour and Brahim Nafai are being investigated and were summoned for interrogation over Facebook posts in which they called for protests and for a boycott of fuel, respectively,” the Amnesty International said in a statement

On 23 March 2022, Alami received a summons from the National Judicial Police Brigade (BNPJ), prosecutor interrogated Alami over her social media posts, including a Facebook post from 22 March in which she criticized the Director-General of Morocco’s National Security Directorate and Director of the Surveillance Directorate for sending officers to question her neighbors about her while she was out.

In another Facebook post published on 20 January, which is also part of the prosecution, Alami slammed corruption in the judiciary.

One of Alami’s lawyers, who asked not to be named for security reasons, told Amnesty International that the prosecutor refused their request to grant her release pending trial, without justification.

Amnesty International called on the Moroccan authorities to end the prosecutions of activists who have been critical of public figures, state officials, or state institutions.

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