Moroccan King's amnesty leaves out Hirak Rif detainees, journalists

Moroccan King's amnesty leaves out Hirak Rif detainees, journalists
2 min read
11 January, 2022
Morocco's King Mohammed VI granted pardon to more than 600 inmates, including an influencer jailed for destruction of public property. Meanwhile, detained Journalists and Hirak Rif prisoners were absent from the royal list.
Morocco's King Mohammed VI usually pardons detainees on religious and national holidays. [Getty]

Rabat - Morocco’s King Mohammed VI granted pardon to 637 people sentenced by different courts in the kingdom, on the commemoration of the Independence Manifesto Day on Monday, said a statement by the Ministry of Justice.

Hundreds of prisoners who have demonstrated “good manners” usually benefit from reduced or revoked sentences via royal pardons issued on religious occasions and major national celebrations. Others see their fines being lifted.

This year, the pardon put an end to the one-year sentence of famous influencer and photographer Sufian Al-Bahri, according to a post published on his Instagram account on Monday. He is known for disseminating rare exclusive pictures of the royal family on social networks.

Al-Bahri had spent more than five months in prison. Last year he was charged of "causing chaos and destroying public property" in the port of Marina Bouregreg near the capital Rabat, while he was reportedly drunk.

But the list of pardoned prisoners does not include arrested journalists or Hirak Rif leaders who have voiced their rejection of the pardon on many occasions. They are adamant on proving their innocence and being acquitted from all charges.

The Hirak Rif movement broke out in northern Morocco's Rif region in 2016, following the crushing to death of fishmonger Mohcine Fikri in a rubbish truck in the presence of authorities.

The protests have escalated since then, leading to violent clashes between demonstrators and security forces.

More than 50 members of the movement were arrested and sentenced to up to 20 years in prison, including Hirak Rif's icon Nasser Zefzafi.