Rabat - The activists detained following Al Hoceima protests have not been tortured and they are in a good health, according to the defense board, who also added that they have no information about the health status of leading activist Nasser Zafzafi.
Rabat – The activists detained following Al Hoceima protests have not been tortured and they are in a good health, according to the defense board, who also added that they have no information about the health status of leading activist Nasser Zafzafi.
“There is no evidence shows that Al Hoceima detainees have experienced torture. They are in good health,” said lawyer Rachid Benali at a press conference held on Thursday in Tangier.
“No Information about Zafzafi”
One of the lawyers, Anouar Belouqi, said that they “have no information thus far about the fate of Nasser Zafzafi and his health status.” He continued that “the series of arresting activists is still ongoing.”
Lawyer and Vice President of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights, Said Benhmani, told news website Alaoual that “for the second day, he could not visit Zafzafi” at Casablanca’s headquarters of Judicial Division of National Police.
Three lawyers, including Behmani, met on Thursday with all the arrested activists except for Zafzafi. The police officer who has been interrogating him called Al Hoceima’s Public Prosecutor to tell the lawyers that they can only meet Zafzafi 30 hours once the duration of the custody is finished. This will be Friday at 3 pm.
Lawyers to Meet Zafzafi Saturday; 5 Activists Moved to Al Hoceima
The coordinator of the defense board for “Hirak Rif,” Rachid Beleli, said on Friday afternoon that Al Hoceima’s Public Prosecutor has now allowed the lawyers to meet Zafzafi and the other detained protesters on Saturday .
“Five detainees have been moved from Casablanca to Al Hoceima. They were moved on Friday aboard a helicopter,” Beleli told news media Lakome. He added that 25 activists are still in custody in Casablanca: “They were charged with starting fires and causing the riot.”
Beleli also said that the “series of arresting activists is still ongoing in Imzouren. We cannot predict the number of the detainees,” he added.
How were the Protests Sparked?
The seven months of protests came following the October death of Mouhcine Fikri, a fishmonger who was fatally crushed in a trash compactor while attempting to retrieve merchandise discarded by authorities.
The government has been criticized for its insufficient response to the tensions in Al Hoceima. After accusing the demonstrations of receiving foreign backing and “drifting towards separatism,” outraged protesters staged a large-scale march denying the charges and reiterating their demands for social and economic development.
Last week, a high ministerial delegation led by Minister of Interior Abdelouafi Laftit traveled to Al Hoceima to “speed up development programs.”
However, tensions have increased over the past few days following the police’s pursuit and arrest of leading activist Nasser Zefzafi.
Zefzafi was taken into custody on Monday after interrupting a Friday sermon he felt was denouncing the “Hirak” movement, and was transferred to Casablanca for investigation. He has since been charged with “obstructing the right of worship” and “undermining state security.”