In a parliamentary meeting after the court decision, Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Stef Blok asked Moroccan-Dutch activists to be careful when visiting Morocco, emphasizing that once in Morocco, police consider bi-nationals as Moroccans only.
“Moroccan-Dutch activists traveling this summer in the region must be careful,” Blok said.
The remarks made by Dutch officials caused Morocco’s Foreign Affairs Ministry to summon the country’s ambassador to Morocco, Désirée Bonis.
Sources from the Moroccan ministry considered Blok’s remarks “unacceptable.”
An anonymous source told Moroccan-based news outlets that Blok’s comments are “incomprehensible,” emphasizing that the statement is not compatible with the “bilateral partnership” between the two countries.
The source also emphasized that Morocco rejects any “interference” in its domestic affairs.
Morocco has refused Dutch comments on the Hirak Rif issue in the past.
In April, Blok said in a press briefing during his meeting with Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita that the Moroccan government and its apparatus “had not been effective in responding to the grievances of the people who took to the streets.”
Blok’s comments did not go unnoticed. In response, the Moroccan minister stated, “[The situation in the Rif] is not a diplomatic question, and cannot be subject to a diplomatic discussion; it is an internal affair, and under no circumstances can it be dealt with through discussions or interaction with foreign states.”
Bourita further explained that the country has a “transparent legal system that ensures equity and equality before the law.”
The sentences given to Hirak Rif activists continue to receive harsh criticism from citizens, activists, international NGOs, and journalists.
On Tuesday night, the Casablanca Court of Appeals pronounced verdicts against 54 activists. Sentences ranged from 1 to 20 years.
The list of the defendants includes more than six journalists who were covering the social movement on the ground. In October 2016, the Hirak movement erupted in Al Hoceima province after the death of local fishmonger Mouhcine Fikri, who was crushed to death in a garbage truck while retrieving confiscated goods.