The international human rights organization Amnesty International, in its new report that appeared today on the situation of human rights in Morocco in 2018, paid attention to Moroccan human rights violations against the Riffians.
The report even starts with the human rights violations in Arif. Amnesty opened its report with: “The rights to freedom of expression and assembly were heavily restricted, mainly in relation to peaceful protests in the northern cities of Al Hoceima and Jerada. Courts sentenced journalists, protesters and human rights defenders to long prison sentences following grossly unfair trials. Authorities banned or limited the activities of several associations.”
Amnesty International also paid attention to those, mostly Riffians, who were arrested and convicted for their messages on social media. As an example Amnesty International arrested the Riffian lawyer Abdessadek El Bouchattaoui. According to the report, the Riffian lawyer was sentenced to two years in prison for online posts criticizing the use of excessive force by the Moroccan authorities during the Arif protests in 2017.
Amnesty also mentions the Riffian activist Nawal Benaissa who was sentenced to a suspended prison sentence of 10 months and a fine for online posts in which she criticized the approach of the Moroccan authorities of the Riffian popular movement.
The international human rights organization also mentioned the Riffian citizen journalists Rabie Ablak, Mohamed El Asrihi and Fouad Essaidi, who were sentenced to five years in prison for reporting on the Riffian popular movement. The Riffian El Mortada Iamrachen is also mentioned. According to the report, he was sentenced to five years in prison for messages that he published on Facebook.
Amnesty wrote under the title “freedom of association”: ”
– Authorities imposed restrictions on freedom of association by banning or limiting the activities of several associations.
– The authorities continued to restrict the access to the country of international organizations, including Amnesty International, to conduct research on human rights.”
Amnesty reported the following about the unfair trials and torture: “Courts continued to convict activists after grossly unfair trials. In Al Hoceima, Oujda and Casablanca, courts relied heavily on “confessions” extracted under duress. On 26 June, a Casablanca court convicted 53 prisoners detained in relation with Hirak El-Rif; the sentences ranged from fines to 20 years in prison. During the trial, the court did not exclude evidence allegedly obtained by torture or other ill-treatment and refused to hear more than 50 defence witnesses. The court held the prisoners in a high-sided box with tinted glass, a practice which is degrading and undermines the presumption of innocence. ”
Amnesty also paid attention to the situation of the Riffian prisoners in Oukkacha. The organization said the following about this: “Prison authorities moved detainees connected with protests between prisons and to prisons far from their home cities as a form of reprisal.
Hirak El-Rif protester Achraf El Yakhloufi was held in Ain Sbaa 1 Local Prison, known as Okacha prison, near Casablanca, over 550km from Al Hoceima, his home town. In August, he was transferred to another prison between the cities of Taza and Rabat for nine days after he began a hunger strike to protest against the prison administration’s refusal to allow him family visits.
In September, Okacha prison officials moved prisoner of conscience Nasser Zefzafi, a leader of Hirak El-Rif, out of solitary confinement, in which he had been held since his arrest in May 2017.”