Rabat - The harsh sentences imposed by Casablanca’s Court on Moroccan activists is making international headlines. The French Foreign Affairs Ministry has criticized the verdict, emphasizing that the French government “is committed to respect public freedoms.”
Rabat – The harsh sentences imposed by Casablanca’s Court on Moroccan activists is making international headlines. The French Foreign Affairs Ministry has criticized the verdict, emphasizing that the French government “is committed to respect public freedoms.”
Following the sentencing, the spokesperson of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Agnes von der Muhll, said, “We have taken cognizance of the sentences pronounced in the context of the trial of the protesters of the Moroccan Rif Hirak.”
The spokesperson made her remarks in a press conference held on Wednesday, June 27.
The French official also recognized that her country is aware of the economic situation in the Rif, where France carries out “cooperation actions with Moroccan authorities, through the French Development Agency, for the benefit of the population of this region.”
Casablanca’s Court of Appeals handed down sentences ranging from 1 to 20 years in prison for a group of activists who were jailed for participating in “unauthorized protests” and for “undermining the internal security of the country.”
Leaders of the protests, including Nabil Ahamjik, Nasser Zefzafi, and Ouassim Boustati, were given 20 years.
International NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemned the heavy sentences, calling for the immediate release of the journalists who were detained in the protests, which started in October 2016 after the death of local fishmonger Mouhcine Fikri.
Protests continued until 2017, and another round of demonstrations began yesterday to condemn the sentences given to Moroccan activists.
RSF denounced the conviction of Moroccan journalists, who received up to five years in prison.
“After eight months of trial, the six Moroccan journalists Mohamed Al Asrihi, Rabii Ablak, Abdelali Houd, El Idrissi Houssein, Foued Essaidi and Jawad Al Sabiry were sentenced by the Court of Appeal of Casablanca, June 27, 2018, up to five years in prison for covering the Hirak du Rif,” wrote RSF.
RSF noted that journalist Hamid El Mahdaoui, who was arrested in July 2017 for giving a speech at Place Mohammed VI in Al Hoceima encouraging them to join a banned protest, will be tried in court Thursday, June 28.