By Safaa Kasraoui and Tarek Bazza
By Safaa Kasraoui and Tarek Bazza
Rabat – On Tuesday night, 54 Moroccan activists received harsh sentences for serious charges after their arrest in Al Hoceima province, which was the home of social demand demonstrations between 2016-2017 after the death of the local fishmonger Mouhcine Fikri in October 2016.
The list of the Hirak Rif activists who were prosecuted includes some of the notable figures who led massive demonstrations in the Al Hoceima province against social inequalities.
Nearly a year later, with more than 80 trials, Casablanca’s Court of Appeals has handed down its verdicts and sentences, sparking nationwide backlash and condemnation as heavy as the sentences received by the activists.
On Wednesday, Moroccan news outlet Media24 published a 1,920-page document from the Court of Appeals. The document lists 54 detainees who were sentenced Tuesday night.
The list also includes Salima Ziani, called Sylia, who received a royal pardon on July 29, 2017. The royal pardon included 41 other activists.
The file also features the leaders of the protest, with their arrest date, charges, and some of their statements.
20 years in prison
The figurehead of the Hirak Rif movement, Nasser Zefzafi, was arrested on May 29, 2017. Born in Al Hoceima in 1978, Zefzafi was arrested for “undermining the security of the state” and for other heavy criminal acts. Zefzafi’s arrest order came after his obstruction of “freedom of worship” when he interrupted an imam at a mosque during a Friday’s sermon, calling for “further demonstrations.”
Nabil Ahamjik, 32-year-old unemployed man, was born in Al Hoceima and holds a diploma in Business Administration. He is the second most prominent leader of the Hirak Al Rif movement, known as Zefzafi’s right-hand man. Nabil was always present in the main Rif protests. He was charged for escalating protests and general strikes in Al Hoceima calling for the release of Hirak Rif detainees. He was arrested on June 5, 2017, for undermining the internal security of the country.
Ouassim El Boustati, a 25-year-old born and raised in Imzouren in northern Morocco, also received 20 years for undermining the stability and the security of the state and preparing conspiracy against security.
Samir Ghid was the fourth activist to receive 20 years in prison for similar charges.
15 years in prison
Zakaria Adahchour received a 15-year sentence on Tuesday night. The 27 year-old was born in Imzouren. On March 26, 2017, he faced heavy charges including “plotting to undermine the security of the state” over protests in the Rif region and “voluntary arson of an inhabited building and a vehicle.”
Mohamed Haki and Mohamed Bouhenouch also received 15 years in prison for their participation in unauthorized protests and for undermining the stability of the state.
The list of convicted people also includes journalists, who were charged for inciting people to participate in unauthorized protests, including Hamid El Mahdaoui, whose trial is today.
10 years in prison
Several activists were given 10 year sentences on Tuesday, including Mohammed Jelloul. Jelloul was born in Tifarwin in 1971. In 2011 he became a prominent leader in the February 20 movement during the Arab Spring and led a large protest movement in the city of Bni Bouayach.
As a result, he had already spent a five-year sentence for provoking to rebellion and violence against public forces.
Karim Amghar, born in 1984 in Imzouren, was also arrested for his involvement in the unauthorized protests in Al Hoceima.
Mohamed Al Assrihi, a day laborer, was born in July 1987 in Al Hoceima. He got a technical diploma and then a diploma in tourism. Dreaming of becoming a journalist, Al Assrihi covered all the Hirak Rif protests to film and report the exact details directly through his Facebook page.
Mohamed Almjaoui, a laborer, was born in the village of Ait Omar in 1971. Orphaned while young, Almjaoui was adopted by another family. He holds a bachelor’s in law, obtained in 1995.
3 years in prison
Mohamed El Hani, a merchant, was born in Al Hoceima. The 31-year-old was arrested for involvement in “unauthorized protests.”
2 years in prison
Ana El Khattab was born in 1992 in Al Hoceima. He works as a wood merchant.
The decision of the court received nationwide backlash, with activists, journalists, human rights NGOs and celebrities condemning the harsh sentences.