Rabat – Casablanca’s Court of Appeal sentenced seventeen Hirak protesters to prison terms ranging from 10 months to 3 years after standing accused of “disobedience and unauthorized demonstrations.”
In addition, the Spanish news agency EFE reported that the court has also reduced its sentencing against an activist, from two and a half years to one year due to his health concerns.
Hundreds of Hirak activists were arrested in a government crackdown on protests held in Al Hoceima province in 2016 and 2017 after the death of Mouhcine Fikri, a local fishmonger who was crushed to death in October 2016.
Many other activists are still placed in pre-trial detention including Nasser Zefzafi, one of the most prominent leaders of the Hirak movement.
In November 2017, Amnesty International (AI) called on Moroccan authorities to unconditionally free the Hirak Rif protesters and Hamid El Mahdaoui, a Moroccan journalist who was also arrested during a protest in the region.
Activists held in pre-detention are facing heavy charges, including “undermining the security of the state and territorial integrity of Morocco” and undermining “citizens’ loyalty to Morocco.”