By Youssef El Kaidi
By Youssef El Kaidi
Morocco World News
Fez, May 30, 2013
Following the last intervention against the 20th February movement and the demonstrations of unemployed graduates in Rabat, an intervention that some media resources described as “violent”, Amnesty International urged Morocco on Wednesday to not “suppress the protests”, two years after thousands of people took to the streets of Rabat, Casablanca and other cities to demand reform.
Amnesty International reported that dozens of activists belonging to the 20th February Movement in Morocco have been arrested for the peaceful expression of their views, and that some of them were ill-treated in custody. The organization quoted human rights sources as saying that the repression of protests in Morocco has increased recently, and that authorities routinely accuse the activists that were involved in the movement of crimes such as insults and violence against police officers, drug trafficking and participating in unauthorized demonstrations. These sources also spoke on the prevalence of ill-treatment of activists during and after their arrest on a large scale.
Ann Harrison, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, said that Moroccan authorities continue to suppress its critics in blatant disregard to the new constitution which was adopted in July 2011, and which guarantees the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and association. Harrison added that “the alleged reforms” launched by the Moroccan authorities appear to be designed to “get rid of the criticism of international partners, as it continues to suppress the protests and has worked so far against the rights of the people instead of protecting them.”
The organization called on Morocco to reform its laws to ensure that detainees have effective access to lawyers of their choice upon their arrest and throughout the period of their detention, insisting that the detainees should have the right to consult their lawyers in confidentiality.
It should be noted that many Moroccan officials have expressed their suspicion towards Amnesty International’s reports and deem that the organization is very biased in its evaluation of the reality of human rights situation in the Kingdom as it continuously tries to taint the image of Morocco.
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