Rabat - Four Hirak Rif activists, who were sentenced to 20 years in prison on June 26, have decided to appeal the court’s decision.
Rabat – Four Hirak Rif activists, who were sentenced to 20 years in prison on June 26, have decided to appeal the court’s decision.
A member of the defense team, Asmae Elouadie, said that most of the 54 sentenced activists were convinced to appeal against the heavy sentences given to them for their involvement in the Hirak Rif movement in 2016 and 2017. Today, 10 days after the sentences were handed down, is the last day the sentences can be appealed.
“After several rounds of negotiations, the detainees finally agreed to appeal their sentences,” she said.
Nasser Zefzafi’s father, Ahmed Zefzafi, also confirmed the news. “It is a decision taken by all the detainees and they announced it to the families during the weekly visit of the families to the prison of Oukacha,” in Casablanca.
However, Rabie El Ablaq, who received a sentence of 5 years and a fine of MAD 2,000, decided not to appeal the court’s decision.
El Ablaq has also been on a hunger strike for more than 35 days now. The activist was transferred to the Moulay Youssef hospital in Casablanca on Monday due to his hunger strike.
“Rabie is very hard to convince. He is obstinate and does not want to hear anything. He refuses to stop his hunger strike and to appeal,” said El Ablaq’s lawyer.
The lawyer added: “If things remain like this, I will appeal on his behalf.”
A few days after the court’s decision to sentence the Hirak Rif activists to 1 to 20 years in prison, those who received 20 years in prison announced they would not appeal the sentences, including Zefzafi.
Journalist Hamid El Mahdaoui, who received 3 years in prison, was among the detainees who originally refused to appeal the court’s decision. Nevertheless, his wife confirmed to Al Bayan that he changed his mind and decided to appeal.
The government received nationwide backlash, with journalists, citizens, politicians, and celebrities condemning the sentences. The cabinet, however, said that the judiciary is fully independent and that it cannot interfere in such cases.
Head of Government and leader of the ruling Justice and Development party (PJD) Saad Eddine El Othmani expressed regrets that his government could not intervene.