Expressing disappointment in the Moroccan government and legal system, Nasser Zefzafi has decided to boycott his appeal hearings.
Rabat – The jailed Hirak Rif leader Nasser Zefzafi abstained from attending an appeal hearing on Monday at the Casablanca Court of Appeals, due to what he calls the “absence of fair trial conditions.”
Zefzafi’s father, Ahmed Zefzafi, shared his son’s statement on Facebook yesterday, announcing that his boycott is irrevocable.
As quoted by his father, Zefzafi said that the trial “is but a stage play by the judicial institution … Therefore, I declare to the local, national and international public that I am boycotting this trial, in which the most basic conditions of fairness do not exist.”
The appeal hearing of Hirak detainees was initially scheduled for January 7 but the court postponed it to Monday, January 14. The court did not report the reasons for the delay.
Eight days after being sentenced to 20 years in June 2018, Zefzafi refused to appeal his sentences.
Along with other detained Hirak activists, Zefzafi started a series of hunger strikes to protest alleged torture and harassment, and ask, according to his father, “for the rights that other prisoners enjoy: that he be taken out of isolation in a solitary cell and put him in a dignified cell where he can see and talk.”
Eventually, Zefzafi decided to appeal in July.
The court handed down sentences varying from 1 to 20 years to 54 Hirak activists for participating in the “unauthorized” Hirak protests.
The Hirak movement began in October 2016 after the death of Mohcine Fikri, an Al Hoceima fishmonger who was crushed to death in a garbage truck while trying to save his goods that had been confiscated by authorities.
The incident angered many, causing protests across the country, especially in Al Hoceima province, which condemned Fikri’s death and social disparities in Morocco.
Police arrested an estimated 400 activists and protesters involved in the protests in 2016 and 2017.