Morocco has repeatedly said Soulaimane Raissouni’s arrest and detention followed due process, but critics maintain the whole case is part of a pattern of politicized judiciary.
Morocco’s General Delegation for Prison Administration and Rehabilitation (DGAPR) has “categorically denied” accusations of mistreatment in the case of journalist Soulaimane Raissouni.
DGAPR’s statement, released on April 9, came after Khouloud Mokhtari, Raissouni’s wife, took to social media to complain against mistreatment such as a “humiliating search” her jailed husband has to routinely endure while in prison.
DGAPR rejected the allegations. The statement notably refuted Mokhtari’s accusation of “humiliating search” procedures, saying that prison guards perform an “ordinary” and non-invasive search procedure when an inmate declares a hunger strike, as Raissouni has done recently.
“This search was performed in full compliance with the law and in the presence of the detainee who has not suffered any abuse or behavior that violates his dignity. Similarly, his belongings have not suffered any damage contrary to the allegations of his wife,” said the statement.
In her post on social media, Mokhtari also accused prison authorities of putting her ill husband in isolation and denying him family visits.
DGAPR said that accusation was “unfounded,” arguing it was Raissouni himself who declined his right to speak to his family by telephone in accordance with a pre-arranged schedule.
Raissouni, who is being detained at the Sebaa 1 in Casablanca over charges of “indecent assault” against a young man, has prominently featured on the list of human rights breaches and other grievances that Morocco’s critics have consistently pointed to in recent months.
Some critics have contested the validity of the charges that led to Raissouni’s imprisonment, arguing his case is part of a trend of critical journalists having trouble with Moroccan authorities.
Raissouni is currently on a hunger strike, and critics have chimed in to say this is due to his deplorable detention conditions.
Addressing such criticism, DGAPR’s statement said Raissouni “enjoys all the rights granted to him by law” and that his hunger strike is not related to any mistreatment or humiliation from prison wards.
It added, “The management of the institution tried to dissuade him from this strike in view of its impact on his health but he opposed it. This has required his placement under medical supervision.”