Rabat - Morocco’s human rights minister has declared that the worst day of his life was the day Taoufik Bouachrine was arrested.
Rabat – Morocco’s human rights minister has declared that the worst day of his life was the day Taoufik Bouachrine was arrested.
Minister of Human Rights Mustapha Ramid said that when he first learned that the journalist and director of Akhbar Alyaoum newspaper was arrested, he could not sleep. Ramid commented on the arrest during a symposium themed “Human Rights in Morocco: Achievements and Challenges.”
The human rights minister said he spent the entire night making calls to find out why Bouachrine was arrested.
Bouachrine was arrested on February 28 and is facing heavy charges for of sexual harassment, gender-based violence, and rape. Prosecutors say they have 50 videos backing the charges against him.
Ramid also revealed that he used to be Bouachrine’s personal lawyer for 10 years before he became a minister.
Throughout the symposium, Ramid stressed that the cases of the two prominent journalists, Bouachrine and Hamid El Mahdaoui, are in the hands of justice, and he cannot intervene or exercise any authority as a human rights minister.
A Casablanca court sentenced journalist Hamid El Mahdaoui on June 28 to 3 years of prison and a fine of MAD 20,000 for “inciting participation in a banned [Hirak Rif] protest” and “breaking the law through speeches and shouting in public places.”
El Mahdaoui gave a speech to a crowd gathered at Place Mohammed VI in the Riffian city of Al Hoceima encouraging the public to take part in the July 20, 2017, protest which had been banned by the government. He was arrested later that same day.
Fifty-three other Hirak activists and journalists, including the protest’s leader Nasser Zefzafi, were sentenced from 1 to 20 years.