The Moroccan Association for Human Rights slams Rabat for 'systematic political choice' to crackdown on freedoms
The deterioration of human rights in Morocco is the result of a "systematic political choice of the state", said the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH).
In a hard-hitting report, AMDH revealed Tuesday the outcomings of its analysis of the situation of human rights in the Kingdom last year.
Titled "Annual Report on the Human Rights Situation in Morocco during the year 2021," the Moroccan association's review was presented during a press conference that took place in the association's headquarters in the capital Rabat.
The press conference witnessed the presence of several key human rights activists, namely Aziz Ghali, the head of the AMDH.
"The human rights situation [in Morocco during 2021] was not free from scenes of arrests and trials set up to cut [off] critical tongues and muzzle condemnations, and to silence every soul that dares to expose the transgressions that are taking place," said Ghali during the press conference.
Ghali has also condemned what he called "a clear targeting" of freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of the press and blogging, and an increasing restriction on the right to peaceful assembly and demonstration.
AMDH's report focused on the situation of prisoners of conscience, namely those who were arrested during Hirak Rif, a popular uprising that organised mass protests in 2016 and 2017.
While the majority of the arrested protesters were freed in the past years, the key figures of the movement such as Nasser Zefzafi remain jailed to date with heavy sentences.
AMDH's report also highlighted the rise of arrests for online posts. In April, a Moroccan court sentenced two Moroccan activists, Saida El-Alami and Rabie Al-Ablaq, to jail, for publishing online posts critical of the Moroccan state.
Up to September 2021, about 120 citizens were arrested because of their online activity, according to the AMDH’s report.
The Moroccan Association of Human Rights said that keeping the country under an emergency state since the start of the pandemic has tightened the state’s grip on freedom of speech and eased the crackdown on the freedom of demonstration.
In March, a court in Rabat sentenced forty-five Moroccan contracted teachers to different penalties for "not complying with Covid measures" and "insulting authorities" during their protests.
Despite lifting most of the pandemic measures, the Moroccan government keeps renewing the emergency state monthly to date.
The association added in its report that "the violations known to many basic rights and freedoms in our country are neither circumstantial nor accidental," as much as they are "the result of a systematic political choice of the state that does not seek neutrality or retreat."