Rabat - With a faded smile plastered over her weathered features, singer and prominent Rif activist Silya Ziani left Oukacha prison July 29 after having received a royal pardon.
Rabat – With a faded smile plastered over her weathered features, singer and prominent Rif activist Silya Ziani left Oukacha prison July 29 after having received a royal pardon.
The 23-year-old is known as the female face of the Hirak protest movement in the Rif. Behind bars since June 5 for her activism in Al Hoceima, the singer was released on July 29, along with 55 other prisoners from Hirak Rif and members of the PJD youth wing. Their identities remain unannounced.
Interviewed in front of Beit Chamisa al-Riaha, the head of the regional office in Casablanca, Silya told the media that she is “very happy to finally regain her freedom” and that she is “waiting for the rest of the Hirak detainees to be freed.”
True to the principles of the social movement, Sylia seized the occasion to remind the public that “the movement’s intentions were never separatist and that its social demands were peaceful,” stressing that the Rif region is “an integral part of Morocco.”
“The movement is social, economic and cultural, and its demands apply to the whole of Morocco,” said Sylia.
The female icon thanked all the Moroccans who supported her and the rest of the Hirak detainees, repeating the phrase, “We are all brothers!”
Sylia was one of a limited number of Hirak detainees to have been pardoned. Political analyst Abderahim Alam attributes the choice to release her to the fact that her imprisonment was ultimately “a mistake and an embarrassment for the state.”
“Sylia was released because her case became international. The fact that she is a singer and a well known public figure forced the hand of the state to free her,” said Alam. “The low profile of the rest of the Hirak prisoners was in their disadvantage, as they were not granted freedom.”