Agadir – As 2020 drew to close, rumours about the deteriorating health of Nasser Zefzafi, who is held in Tangier 2 Prison, started circulating on social media. With growing criticism from the general population, officials from the prison have responded that these claims are “unfounded”.
Zefzafi is largely seen as the face of the “Hirak” protest movement that swept across Northern Morocco between 2016 and 2017. The 41- year-old Zefzafi, who was unemployed at the time of his trial, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for “conspiring to undermine state security.”
In August 2019, Zefzafi and five other political activists attracted media attention by asking to be stripped of their nationality. Many analysts interpreted the bold move as a symbolic act, since giving up Moroccan nationality is not permitted within the national legislature.
Despite Zefzafi’s imprisonment following a Casablanca court’s “conclusive” verdict, he and his family remain active in calling for justice. Zefzafi has boycotted his appeal hearings, as well as declared numerous hunger strikes.
As rumours about Zefzafi’s ill health made the rounds on social media, authorities were quick to respond. Representatives of the Tangier 2 Prison stressed that the allegations about Zefzafi’s deteriorating health are “unfounded”.
“Neither he nor any of his co-detainees informed the facility’s doctor or the nurse on duty on Thursday evening, December 31, 2020, that he was suffering from respiratory problems or that he had requested to take allergy medication,” a prison representative told MAP, Morocco’s state media.
On January 1, Zefzafi appeared before the Tangier 2 Prison’s medical board. He communicated his distress, whereas the board prescribed and administered the appropriate medicines, according to the MAP report.
For authorities at the Tangier 2 Prison, the waves of allegations surrounding Zefzafi’s health and his perceived mistreatment by authorities only seek to mislead the public. “These parties are trying to start the new year with a desperate attempt to draw attention to the case of these detainees, even by spreading untruths and made-up lies,” they said.