The Dutch journalist, Gerbert van der Aa, was arrested and deported by Moroccan authorities to the Spanish enclave of Melilia where he resides at this moment.
Prior to his deportation, the journalist was located in Nador to do research on illegal migration in the area and also examine the Riffian popular movement which was ignited on the 28th of October 2016 as a result of the indirect killing of the fishmonger, Mohsin Fikri, by a Moroccan authority figure.
The journalist claimed that he was followed by undercover agents that followed him around every corner and also questioned him on his activity and commanded him not to take any pictures or record video. When he explained that he was not out there to perform photographic journalism but to write about certain relevant issues he was told by the authorities that that was also forbidden and that he could face deportation. He was subsequently directed towards the border of Melilla, which is approximately 15 km north of the Riffian coastal city of Nador.
The given reason for his deportation is the fact that he does not have the Moroccan nationality and therefore cannot have a Moroccan press card, while one of the first requirements for a press card in Morocco is to be living inside the kingdom.
The department of ‘Association Marocaine des Droits Humains’, which is located in Nador, has issued a statement on what it claims are ‘the real reasons for the deportation of the Dutch journalist, Gerbert van der Aa:
• Fearing exposure through documentation of the ill-treatment of sub-Saharan Africans if journalists get access to the migration traffic zone in order to perform transparent journalism on the matter.
• Fearing exposure of the real number of migrants that live in the coastal city of Nador and the portion of those migrants which is treated and often arrested in inhumane manners. The exposure of the real numbers on the Moroccan migration issue is seen as politically harmful for the kingdom because accurate estimation through transparent journalism could undermine the migration agenda of the monarchy and cut European subsidies for the migration problem which are kept streaming in as long as bloated numbers are given by the kingdom to Europe.
Gerbert van der Aa has confirmed his deportation and has said that he would share his case on the Dutch Radio channel, NPO Radio 1. The deportation of Gerbert is not the first case of restrictive behaviour by the kingdom towards journalists aiming to research relevant developments and activities within Morocco which are linked to internal and external political activities. Read more about other cases of journalism restriction: