Rabat – Two Spanish journalists in Tetouan were expelled from Tetouan, northern Morocco on Tuesday night for “filming without permission.” No information was given about the nature of filmed content.
José Luis Navazo, director of Correo Diplomatico, which first reported the news, and Fernando Sanz, a fellow writer for the Spanish-language publication, were taken from Navazo’s familial residence in Tetouan around 8 p.m. by three plain clothed officers for the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN).
Navajo and his friend were then transported to the police department of Central Tetouan, without taking any personal belongings.
After an hour in the car without interrogation, the journalists were taken to the Tarajal border crossing to Ceuta, 35 kilometres from Tetouan, where their passports were stamped. The duo was then expelled without receiving any explanation.
Despite not knowing why they were removed from the kingdom, the journalists affirmed that Moroccan police acted with “the maximum correction and even with courtesy.”
“We can’t predict”
Minister of Communication Mohamed Laaraj told Morocco World News, that the two men “presented themselves at the border crossing in Sebta as tourists and not as journalists. They wanted to shoot images and take statements from people in Tetouan, but they did not possess shooting permits.”
Laaraj did not precise where the two journalists were heading to after visiting Tetouan. “We can’t predict where people head to after they visit the country,” the minister said. “Had they asked for a shooting permit, the Ministry of Communication could have granted them permission,” he added.
Navazo, who has lived in Morocco for 17 years and is married to a Moroccan woman with whom he has two children, interviewed leading Rif activist Nasser Zafzafi in winter and head of government Saadeddine El Othmani in March.
Upon entering the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, the two journalists reported their expulsion to the official for the Spanish police in Tarajal.
Based in Ceuta, the Spanish-language online publication Correo Diplomatico writes about North African politics and has made extensive coverage of the ongoing Rif crisis.
A statement by FAPE and the Valladolid Association of Journalists (APV), of which Sanz is General Secretary, condemned Morocco’s actions and called upon the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Alfonso Dastis, to intervene.
In their joint statement, they said demanded Dastis find “the appropriate explanations from his Moroccan counterpart” for the deportation.